Halftime Leisure

Critical Voices: The Colourist, The Colourist

March 27, 2014

It’s romance meets indie pop in The Colourist’s first ever full-length album, The Colourist. Riding on the heels of bands like Grouplove and Two Door Cinema Club, the self-titled debut is characterized by a familiar, energetic indie sound — think Matt and Kim, with a splash of electric guitar.

The album opens with “Little Games,” a track carried by the nimble guitar riffs and the double vocals of lead guitarist Adam Castilla and drummer Maya Tuttle. In many ways, this track sets the tone for the album, which traces the course of a romantic relationship: the giddiness of new love, the worries and doubts slowly coming on, the frustration that ultimately ends in breakup. As the opening song, “Little Games” seems to hint at the tension that will come to a climax later in the album: “What did I do so wrong?/ You lied and led me on.”

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The following track, “Wishing Wells,” brings us back in time, to that first breath of new romance. “If you don’t know what you’re looking for/Just follow what you feel,” sing Adam and Maya, their voices intertwining and echoing. These airy vocals, paired with catchy guitar hooks, perfectly capture the place of naïve excitement the lyrics describe, “the land of wishing wells.”

The energy stays high with “We Won’t Go Home” and “Yes Yes,” though it is in this latter track that the first signs of doubt begin to appear. “This time may be the last time I see you,” sings Adam; “Take my hand/You’re slipping,” replies Maya softly. In spite of the upbeat feel, even the feverish guitar riffs of “Yes Yes” cannot fully conceal the uncertainty that starts to slip into the lyrics.

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These shadows of doubt begin to truly hit home in “Stray Away,” a song which falls midway through the record. Here, the album quiets down for the first time, delivering only a gentle melody and a blunt, emotional confession. “I know we just met/but I fear of what’s to come of us,” admits Adam in the opening lines. As he continues, the melody slowly builds, finally exploding into slow, bursting guitar chords, before falling back to quiet acoustics.

Full-blown heartbreak is realized soon after in “Oh Goodbye,” a catchy track with an energy that nearly obscures the sadness in the lyrics. “There comes time/When we’re just not happy/So we have to say, so long,” Adam and Maya sing together, masking their final goodbye in yet another upbeat melody.

The Colourist, in the end, has certainly succeeded in capturing the highs and lows of romance, albeit with an energetic style that fits almost too well into the now-well-established indie pop scene. Hopefully, the band will soon begin taking bigger risks, setting themselves apart from the crowd in their future records. However, at any rate — if this record is anything to judge by — The Colourist has enough emotional material to fuel several albums to come.

Voice’s Choices: “Little Games,” “Stray Away”

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