Review Summary: Like a rainbow without all its color: a spectrum incomplete.
Several years ago, while desperate to escape the violent Arizona heat, I found myself in an art installation dedicated to a single concept: the color red. In all of its manifestations, I viewed this color. First it appeared in its most obvious forms: stop signs, fire trucks, roses and the like. But before long, every shade from blazing orange to neon pink was being washed around me. Entire rooms were painted in blurs of crimson and coral and cantaloupe. I recall bursting back onto the streets of Phoenix and feeling completely overwhelmed by the return of the rest of the rainbow. It was an exhausting experience, and I no longer take the absence of colors for granted.
I mention this because, as I write this, Ultraviolet
, the newest release from My Epic, exists in a sort of chromatic limbo. It is only part one of a two part series, the second being an EP titled Violence
to be released later in 2018. And it shows on Ultraviolet
. There’s a real sense that this is only half of a project. Like a rainbow without all its color: a spectrum incomplete.
My Epic succeeds with the limited colors they do use, though. Their post-rock grooves are meticulously designed, glinting and glowing with stunning precision. In Absentia
is the standout track, with it’s fast paced drum groove driving underneath the coat of strange and wavy synth sounds, giving the track an almost dream pop sound. Singer Aaron Stone is still excellent, carrying the beautiful track Voices
with his signature croons and wails. Unfortunately, he can’t save So Be It
from being a meandering bore that can’t decide if it wants to be a power ballad or an airy synth jam. The problem begins to arise after repeat listens: this EP is too monochromatic to be engaging for very long. My Epic's swirling melodic choruses are still pretty, but they struggle to reach the same daring technicality and grace of their previous releases. The chorus of Of Wilderness
is just not that different from the heavy chugs of Two Nights
: their context may vary, but the color ultimately remains the same.
does have one notable twist. My Epic have become somewhat infamous for their relentlessly overt Christian themes, but on Ultraviolet
, the lyrics are surreal, even bordering on the Lovecraftian. “I lost the sea last night/None of the shore’s in sight/All of the stars still hang in sequences but/I don’t know this sky”. While faith and religion still rear their heads, they appear as ghosts rather than gods, an appreciable change from My Epic’s typical color palette.
It is ultimately a sameness of color that causes Ultraviolet
to underwhelm. The colors that are there can be beautiful, but they don’t hold up to repeat listens. While the lyrics do offer a slight twist on My Epic’s typical formula, it is hard to feel like Ultraviolet
was meant to be more than it is. Perhaps when Violence
is released, Ultraviolet
will make more sense, but until then, Ultraviolet
will be the first My Epic record to disappoint.