There are few bands out there to truly touch Colourmusic’s engrossing racket.
Mike Diver 2011-03-31
Much admired by similarly out-there sonic adventurers The Flaming Lips, Colourmusic are a puzzling proposition. Loosely indie, for the sake of categorisation here, they are as likely to shift from folk-inspired prettiness to gut-crunching riffs as they are saucy RnB motifs to psychedelic explosions.
If this makes the idea of a 14-track LP rather hard to stomach, please: fizz a few antacids and hop along for a ride that rarely seems like it knows where it’s heading until it arrives there, usually too quickly and without all seatbelts fastened. Truly, this is scintillating fare, albeit rock of a variety that can dizzy itself to the extent where a point becomes dulled by the practice – not that it matters, because the poise is so polished (when it’s not drenched in feedback) that the band’s directionless bombast is a most pleasing soundtrack to all and any whatever-the-weather escapades.
That the four-piece call very different places home – individuals from Oklahoma and Yorkshire are rarely found in the same band – maybe goes some way to explaining their endearingly scattershot approach to songwriting. Certainly, no single lynchpin directs proceedings – and if frontman Ryan Hendrix does, someone needs to open up his dome to take a look at what’s ticking out of any sensible time in there. At its most immediate the Lips are an easy parallel: You for Leaving Me summons Coyne and company at their most prog-flecked funky, adding another few inches to the platform soles. We Shall Wish (Use Your Adult Voice) is a dreamy number akin to Deerhunter’s widescreen voyages into the ethereal; and Pororoca – which translates, apparently, as "great destructive noise" – is a sort of sci-fi U2 affair, recasting Bono as Buck Rogers while The Edge’s guitars get trampled into a thousand pieces by Brian Blessed in full Prince Vultan flow.
Fans of MGMT and the recently reformed Death From Above 1979 will find much to enjoy, too. The former’s penchant for shimmering pop hooks beneath cranium-stretching conceptual content appears present and correct (Yes!, for example), while the sheer force of some of this set’s more rollicking cuts is comparable to that mustered by the Canadian duo (check out the frenetic, fuzz-soaked opener, Beard).
But it’s unsurprising, given this album’s lively leaping from style to style, that the band they most remind the listener of is themselves – and that they’ve only just begun, this being their second album, makes the prospect of future forays into the aural unknown all the more enticing. When they lock their grooves down, let the drums fly and the guitars spark, there are few bands out there to touch Colourmusic’s engrossing racket.