Review Summary: The Colorful Quiet digs deep and comes up with their best composition to date.
The Colorful Quiet is a one-man band from New Jersey that has garnered about as much recognition as any of your local high school bands. With all of the songs written, orchestrated, and performed by Stephen Webster, the sound of The Colorful Quiet’s music could best be characterized as soulful, stripped-down indie. Like many other artists of his kind, Webster’s whispered vocals and the acoustic setting does very little to distinguish him from the crowd. Having released five albums to this point (including demos and EP’s), Webster and The Colorful Quiet remain largely unknown, a trait that has become almost synonymous with the indie genre. The Sun Is Melting
, however, is Webster’s first real step towards gathering steam and making a true run at fame.
Of course, nobody can say if that is even his goal. His music on this record as well as on previous works such as Numb Feeling
suggest otherwise. The simplicity and self-indulgence of The Colorful Quiet’s music does not at any point suggest that Webster is aiming for commercial sales and endless radio glory. If he were, however, “Survival” would be forever linked to his rise to prominence. “Survival” is easily his most well known song off of The Sun Is Melting
, and it is also the song most associated with The Colorful Quiet amongst its extremely small fan base. The song straddles the line between Elliot Smith’s balladry and Joshua Radin-esque soft vocal harmonies. Also, the lyrics are original enough to intrigue even the most avid fan of the genre:
In the face of reminiscing, I think of her as tall
Just in case she’s listening, I’ll admit it was my fault
‘Cause she believes all that I tell her
I wouldn’t want to hurt her…again
An almost Incubus-like sonic atmosphere radiates from other songs, such as the album’s opening two tracks, “Darkness” and “Envelope.” Moments such as these introduce a change of pace from the sitting-on-a-stool, acoustic-guitar-in-hand image painted by nearly every single one of Webster’s other songs. The change of pace is quite welcome, seeing as how The Colorful Quiet’s formula, although good, can become tiring after a few listens. “The Light” continues the out-of-the-box formula trend for Webster, with a slow tribal drum beat in the background and…a tambourine? Yes, you heard me right. The introduction of normally trivial instrumental moments may not seems like much cause for celebration, but every additional use of an instrument is one more beyond the single acoustic guitar that was featured on the preceding album Numb Feeling
. As a whole, it creates an atmosphere that would not have been expected coming into the album straight off of one of Webster’s previous works. “The Pain” might be the most unique songs he has ever written, with the inclusion of a wide variety of instruments and synthesizers, but The Sun Is Melting
slowly gives way to the old formula again over the latter half of the album. This is not necessarily a bad thing, seeing as that is the half that contains the standout track “Survival” along with a handful of other well thought-out, worthwhile ballads. The album’s flow is not sacrificed either, as even the most stripped down acoustic moments retain the mood set from the opening minutes of the record.
As a whole, The Sun Is Melting
is yet another solid delivery from Stephen Webster’s largely anonymous band, The Colorful Quiet. It branches out into territory that Numb Feeling
never even attempted to while preserving the soft vocals and acoustic music that made Webster’s earlier works so intriguing. The Colorful Quiet may not be a band commonly mentioned in the indie community, but it is nevertheless one that is worthy of praise and a few listens by indie/soft rock fans everywhere.