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Often evoking names like the Kinks, Donovan, and the High Llamas but branching into electro-pop, soul, and more, Colorama is a psychedelic indie pop project with a fluctuating lineup behind Welsh singer/songwriter Carwyn Ellis. Their first album, Cookie Zoo, appeared in 2008. Eclectic releases including a Christmas EP (2011's Cerdyn Nadolig), a soundtrack for a documentary about frequent collaborator Edwyn Collins (2014's The Possibilities Are Endless), and albums featuring both English- and Welsh-language songs helped seal Ellis' reputation as a both a timeless songwriter and compelling experimenter. With 2017's Some Things Just Take Time, he paid tribute to favorite American influences with a spare, earnest approach. Established in Cardiff in 2008, Colorama's debut album, Cookie Zoo, was released at first only in Japan on Noise McCartney Records. Also in 2008, their official debut single, "Sound," arrived on the U.K.'s Redbricks Recordings. Colorama accepted an invitation to play at Glastonbury in June 2009, and that September they released Magic Lantern Show, an album with both English- and Welsh-language songs. Their third LP, Box, arrived on Noise McCartney (Japan) and See Monkey Do Monkey Recordings (U.K.) in October 2010, with the Christmas EP Cerdyn Nadolig (Christmas Card) following that December. In 2011, the band delivered the mostly Welsh Llyfr Lliwio (Coloring Book), and with production by Edwyn Collins and Sebastian Lewsley, Good Music arrived in 2012. Wonderfulsound reissued Colorama's existing catalog in late 2013, making Cookie Zoo available in Europe for the first time. The EP Heaven's Hotel followed in March 2014, and the full-length Temari came out three months later on AED Records. In the meantime, Ellis, Collins, and Lewsley had reunited for the soundtrack to The Possibilities Are Endless, a documentary about Collins' stroke and struggle to regain his memory. The soundtrack was released in November 2014, the same month Wonderfulsound issued a collection of Colorama's Welsh-language songs, Dere Mewn! Ellis began recording the seventh Colorama studio album in 2015. The following year, Bendith, a collaboration between Ellis and indie folk trio Plu (Elan, Gwilym, and Marged Rhys), released a self-titled EP. After an unprecedented -- for Colorama -- three-year gap between records, Some Things Just Take Time, a stripped-down tribute to American songwriting influences, arrived in 2017. That year, Ellis became official keyboardist for the Pretenders. He recorded the next Colorama album during breaks from touring with Chrissie Hynde and band. Tracked with another adventurous songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, Shawn Lee, at Lee's studio in North London, Chaos Wonderland eventually arrived on Recordiau Agati and Banana & Louie Records in 2020.
© Marcy Donelson /TiVo
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