Review Summary: A rock and a hard place and another rock and also another hard place and additionally just heaps and heaps more rocks and hard places.
If you took psychology in high school or otherwise know how to read words on the internet (if the latter isn’t you: uhhhh) you’ll have heard the term ‘fight or flight’. In psychology, the phenomenon is defined by the body’s options in response to a perceived threat – an extreme reaction reserved for extreme circumstances. It’s either away or through. The terrifying and immobilizing thing about neuroses, though, is how we’re rendered incapable of doing either, and often the only thing that remains to a person struck by mental illness is the all-encompassing, all consuming fog of desperation. Whenever it’s You versus You (or, more specifically: you versus your brain) the most likely outcome is the familiar one. That is: you, clawing around in the dark for a light switch, except the light switch is moving constantly and for some reason it keeps telling you that you’re veryveryveryvery fucking bad, mostly. Any attempt at fight or flight here is marked by a sense of futility; indisposed and incapacitated, a whole lot of very little. All this is to say that Move Like You
is an animal trapped in a cage.
Typing all that feels cheesy as hell, but the wonderful and refreshing thing about this EP is how listening to it – in all its faithful emo/melodic hardcore recreations and well-worn sentiments --doesn’t. If there’s one thing that needs to be stressed about the songwriting here, it’s that its candid, honest about not knowing what the fuck is going on, and therefore aware of the restraint-release dynamic that so many emo bands forget to implement. Backbone
holds off on the explosion when you most expect it, lending the final hook the room it needs to land, and Fleas
, a short screamo-esque interlude, ruptures and spills out into a landscape of dissonance and feedback only to introduce the driving and determined march of the title track.
But emo-cum-hardcore-cum-punk-cum-alt-rock is not, and most likely never will be, defined by its ability to keep itself and the emotions it conveys in check. Here, more than ever, that lack of control is palpable in the vocal performances, but it isn’t grating or childish or indolent; rather, it’s necessary. If I’m correct, and the record is about desperation, either deliberately or by proxy of its tonal qualities, the belted chorus of Entice Me
and the screams in Water
effectively engender the idea that, dammit, we’ve tried everything to not feel horrible and yet we still do.
As if in two minds the EP still has moments of submission; “I’ll never escape the way that I’m feeling until the day that I’m dead” goes The Weather Song
, but Colourblind still act out as if there’s a chance that’s not true. And, in this, the subject matter often reflects the music that lashes and writhes around beneath it. The title track, which is also (very deliberately) the final song on the EP, winds itself down into an outro that feels like a the-walls-are-closing-in type resignation; a final breath hyperaware of its role as a conclusion. Backing vocals and lead vocals bleed into each other for an altogether deranged and sad and somehow beautiful yin-yang. The refrain “Not living / Not leaving” matches that slow walk into nothing perfectly, illustrating the kind of limbo that can make you feel like an animal trapped in a cage. Except the cage is your anxiety, your insecurity and self-loathing, your sadness. And the cage door is open but you can’t bring yourself to leave. Or whatever.
An omission: it’s worth mentioning that even though this EP is (perhaps) a fruitless search for whatever coping mechanisms one can find under couch cushions, through shifting senses of self, behind closed eyelids; performance and production-wise it’s polished and self-assured. Despite only playing music for around a year, Colourblind are a band who already know how best to carve out a middle ground between songs you can sweat to and songs you can confide in. Basically, if you listen to Move Like You, there’s a good chance you’ll be Moved, Like Me. Thank you and good night.