Review Summary: A fun party record that aspires to be so much more
Describing themselves as ‘progressive power groove’, This Is Colour label themselves by their musical traits first and their genre second. They’re most definitely a progressive band; the borrowed elements present throughout No Brainer
will attest to that. ‘Power’ – they definitely have power, in the sense their music is very high energy and loaded with angsty subtext. ‘Groove’- they’re definitely groovy, always ensuring that their music has very potent bass and percussion-driven rhythm and melody that manage to be both underhand and dominant. Sadly, for an album as ambitiously crazy as No Brainer
, there’s very little innovation brought to the table in the form of actual musicality. There are a plethora of outside influences; hardcore, rap rock, alternative and grind to name just a few, and they gel cohesively enough. However, the songs themselves, despite the fact they are a great deal of fun, hold little water.
The first half of the release is undoubtedly the stronger half, with a more eclectic mix of influences present in the sound. Songs such as ‘Superhero: Returns’ and ‘Seeds Of Discontent’ set forward the game plan for the rest of the album in the form of two toe-tappingly infectious hardcore anthems. Much like the rest of the album, the songs are silly and ‘party’ hardcore in the best possible way (that is, the polar opposite of Deez Nuts). ‘Superhero: Returns’ makes sure the traits that are prevalent for the rest of the album are covered extensively, from the rhythmic chugging of the verses to the almost joyously brash rap section of the song. All of the music is stripped away in this interlude, save for a guitar that mimics the chugging of the verses on a single string and a minimalist drum pattern. ‘Brothers In Arms’ has the most interesting introduction, which is made up of an impressive amount of sweep picking. As soon as this brief section concludes, the main body of the song is introduced, which pretty much takes the formula as laid out by the preceding tracks and runs with it.
Other tracks, such as ‘You’re No Worse Off’ and ‘From The Top’ utilise the same musicality via a different approach, implementing more sweep picking and a higher concentration on actual song structure. This works well, but the clash between instruments as they all vie for attention is a tad jarring. The same vocal style is present throughout the majority of the release; occasionally the band makes use of crowd shouts and screaming, but generally it’s the same hardcore raspy-shout, which works in the context, but the vocalist sounds a little hoarse and weak-voiced throughout. A number of the tracks either toe the five- minute mark or surpass it altogether, which is unusual for an album of this nature. However, these are not just cobbled-together compositions; they are legitimate metallic structures with movements, refrains and interludes. There is an obvious focus on solos as opposed to breakdowns too, which comes across as a little idiosyncratic, but works well because of the other musical tendencies at play as well as the technical proficiency of the solos themselves. Where breakdowns are utilised they are the usual chugging fare, so much so they actually sound like the guitar rhythm of the verses, but slowed down. The two instrumental tracks, ‘Superhero: Begins’ and ‘A Word To The Wise Guy’ are both concise, atmospheric interludes but lack any real relevancy, as they draw on two foibles from pop culture that aren’t really present elsewhere on the album.
is a good start for This Is Colour, marrying just enough musical traits together to be a consistent, interesting, and above all else, fun release. The final product, however, is a wide-ranging slurry of ideas that never quite hits a creative peak; it finds a plateau in the first twenty minutes and sticks rigorously to it for the rest of the release, and the result is solid, but nothing more.