By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
The Colour have a few very, very bad habits. First: the standard chorus on Between Earth & Sky(their debut LP) has about twice as many syllables as there are original words. For example: "Tell me how-h-h-how are you gonna save me/when you ca-a-a-a-an't you can't save yourself?" and "I was the sun she was the moon/I was the sun she was the moon/I was the sun/and our children were the stars" on "Save Yourself" and "Our Children Were the Stars," respectively. If you're going to sing a two-line chorus, fine, but make it just a two-line chorus. And for Christ's sake make it an original two-line chorus.
Second bad habit: Wyatt Hull's voice. Simply listing the similarities would be pointless; they're too obvious. Yet at times it was so bad I began thinking up conspiracy theories: Is it intentional that on "Devil's Got a Holda Me" the casual listener could be easily duped into thinking he's hearing the new White Stripes single? I doubt it—Hull's Jack White-ness is probably an honest coincidence. Instead it seems more likely that somebody high up at their label (EMI subsidiary Rethink) is not only aware that the Colour chameleon themselves amid top 40 bands of the past and present, but actually considers their habit a marketable advantage. And, to their credit, they could be right: the Colour could be the next big thing. But again, I doubt it.
Here's why (third bad habit, if you're keeping track): the Colour are less a derivative of classic rock bands and more a derivative of other derivative bands (Stripes, Louis XIV, etc.), which makes it even worse. They're at their best when they wipe off the classic-rock revival tag and come up with something different. "Kill the Lights" puts an archetypal '80s pop song structure (see the FIXX's "One Thing Leads to Another") in the context of the band's ultra-basic lineup.
Then there's the understated "Silver Meadows." If the Colour base their next album on the structure and instrumentation of this song alone, they'll be set. Contextually it falls somewhere between Modest Mouse and the Arcade Fire but not as a throwback to either. Having influences is fine, but as "Silver Meadows" and "Kill the Lights" demonstrate, they only work when they're creative and subtle enough that the finished product is something original—a lesson the Colour hopefully don't plan on ignoring in the future, lest they become another Louis XIV.
THE COLOUR AND DELTA SPIRIT KICK OFF THEIR MONTHLONG DUAL RESIDENCY AT DETROIT BAR, 843 W. 19TH ST., COSTA MESA, (949) 642-0600; WWW.DETROITBAR.COM. MON., 10 P.M. FREE. 21+.