Unifier - Colorado
Record Label: Round Kid Records/ Autumn + Colour
Release Date: February 12, 2013
It’s been ages since a new pop rock band got me super excited. In recent years there seems to have been a trend of bands taking one of two musical paths: doing whatever it takes to sell or rehashing the music that has been perfected before them. Thanks to this, I pretty much stopped listening to new bands of this ilk and stuck to the old reliables. Then, one day, I had the luck of hearing a new band called Future Ghosts. Their EP at the time, Oh Great City, was an indie tinged pop rock record that made the band stand out instantly. It was filled with distinct vocals and a highly mature sound that had flair, musical talent and likeability, all at once. From that discovery onwards I found myself anticipating where Future Ghosts might bring their career and looking forward to when the band would release their debut album.
It’s been over a year since the release of that EP and the band have decided to grace us with their first full length, Colorado. The North Carolina band, now called Unifier thanks to a legal dispute, have presented us with twelve tracks of solid pop rock that calls back the accessibility and catchiness that the early bands of this scene possessed, whilst remaining completely relevant to today. Colorado is the sound of a band who are confident in their ability and have the songwriting skills to back it up. From the subtle catchiness of opener “Crush”, to the sheer anthemic qualities of “Shadows”, Unifier know how to perfect the irrepressibly addictive hook without forcing it. The vocals throughout the record are sublime, with the singer navigating notes both high and low without skipping a beat. On “Mission Control”, they have a highly seductive feel however on “Parasite Loss”, the same vocals manage to be bright and spritely and complement the upbeat feel of the track perfectly. Unifier’s sound follows the same pattern as its leader’s voice. At no point does the record get relentlessly upbeat or relentlessly sad; each track has its own distinct atmosphere and prevalent emotion and they fit perfectly alongside one another to make Colorado an album for all emotions and moods. In terms of musical ability, Unifier are always spot on. Their playing is never sloppy, however the production gives the music enough room to breathe so that it manages to still feel organic despite being honed to perfection. It’s a credit to Unifier as a band that they’ve created an album that is highly accessible and attractive not because it’s “polished”, but because the band are so talented.
Admittedly, Unifier aren’t reinventing the wheel. If one was to be truly cynical about the record, it wouldn’t be stretching the truth too far to say that there are many bands out there who do exactly what Unifier do - create catchy rock music with a slight emotional touch - however Unifier are so much better than the majority of their peers. Colorado never feels overwrought or forced; choruses are catchy because that’s how they’re meant to be, gang vocals feel natural and all emotions in the album feel detailed and realistic rather than vague and overly accessible. These are the reasons we all fell in love with Jimmy Eat World and Never Take Friendship Personal; we’d heard it all before, but it was never this good. Colorado is one of the strongest albums the genre has seen in awhile, and should already be a contender for breakout album of the year. If you’ve never heard of these guys make sure you pick this up, you certainly won’t be disappointed.