Singer songwriter Paul Melia has to be applauded for attempting to bridge so many musical styles on his album ‘Hold Onto The Colours’. He’s ambitious too, enlisting no less than the Malmo Symphonic Orchestra. It’s also a risky move trying to create a coherent sound across the album. Melia makes no secret of the fact he’s inspired by Talk Talk and when it hits the mark whereas on Lights In The Sand, Everything Has An End and Think All Day shows keen pop sensibilities and an originality which lingers on the mind.
But there is a disparity between these songs sounds which fit snuggly together and the remainder of the album. Which leads us to where it falls flat, down a giant sinkhole; Shelter From My Mind, Coma and Flower In My Head are pristine and polished but as dull as dishwater. The latter also makes you wait over four minutes before it gets interesting. Some of the fat on these songs could do with being trimmed off. But the nadir is reached on Heart Broken Symphony – an over-baked Meatloaf style like prog rock dinosaur with crunching guitars, orchestra and a child choir. It comes across as pretentious, lumbering and tiresome.
The album ends on better ground with Daydream With Peter Pan/Hold Onto The Colours (Goodbye) which distinguishes itself with some jazz trumpet before diving into some catchy pop melodies that Melia does best. What’s not in question is Melia’s ability as a musician as he’s clearly talented having played a lot of instrumentation on the album. He’s also capable of nailing down songs that are memorable but what is lacking is the sense to know when enough is enough on some tracks. Sometimes less is more and ‘Hold Onto The Colours’ could have done with reigning in the excess.