The Colourist - - The Colourist
Record Label: Universal Republic Records
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Clean, polished, harmless radio pop. That’s essentially the MO for California quartet The Colourist. Any other descriptions trying to paint themselves as anything else are more than likely hyperbolic. That being written, The Colourist is a fine album and one that has commercial success written all over it. The disc’s front half is one giant gulp of sugary, sun-drenched accessibility. Whether its the uber-infectious lead single “Little Games” or the ebullient and hopeful “Wishing Wells.” The band is at their best when vocalists Adam Casilla and Maya Tuttle share vocal duties, most notably on the defiant “We Won’t Go Home” and the playful-cum-flirtatious “Tonight (Young Hearts).”
These days a pop band is nothing without an army of synths and the teetering “Yes Yes” proves exactly that. That the song is arguably the weakest on the front half is probably not a coincidence. On the contrary, the acoustic and intimate “Stray Away” is a gorgeous ballad of heart-on-sleeve introspection that proves not only the band’s versatility but also their tender side. Far too many records like this can often power-pack radio single after radio single and never once try for something different. That the band employs a ballad like “Stray Away” is just another reason why their future is more than likely littered with dollar signs.
As one might predict, the disc’s second act continues in much the same pattern. Synths and Maya Tuttle are center stage on the open-hearted “What Can I Say,” a derivative, by-the-book number that has a shelf-life of no more than a half-dozen listens. Ditto for the buoyant “Say You Need Me.” Arguably Tuttle’s strongest song (and one of the band’s strongest, to boot) comes in the form of the spiky and caffeinated “Fix This,” a hard-charging and punchy effort that’s equally as defiant “We Won’t Go Home,” but far more indelible. Penultimate cut “Oh Goodbye” is a sugary slice of heartbreak that’s as compelling and accessible as anything on the first half, while closer “Put the Fire Out” is an absolute throwaway that has zero business being on the album.
There’s little about The Colourist that breaks new ground and even less that will win over the Christgau’s of the world. But harmless, cookie-cutter pop is often a perfect tonic for a bad day and an even better match for the ensuing summer days still to come. Though they’ll probably need to improve leaps and bounds on their next effort to be taken seriously, The Colourist is a joyous summer record and the arrival of a new band more than ready to dominate airwaves.