The Colour

Between Earth & Sky

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This L.A.-based quintet went through a few identity crises before settling on a Stones/T. Rex/New York Dolls-styled mélange. The sound is given extra U.K. luster by way of Wyatt Hull's heavily Robert Smith-influenced vocal style. Recording live in the studio with few overdubs captures the outfit's natural energy as the group chugs along. Piano-driven ballads such as "Silver Meadows" drift pleasantly, and even ripping off the opening chords of "For Your Love" doesn't mar the swampy Brit-rock of "Black Summer." Yet, there is so much emphasis on Hull's vocals that the bandmembers seem like backing musicians for his solo album. The songs are reasonably solid and the disc finds a moderately vibrant sonic groove as it progresses, but it's difficult for the outfit to establish a unique vibe when the Cure-like vocals are so dominant in the mix. Add that these guys are Americans who write trippy, humorless song titles such as "Our Children Were the Stars," and the whiff of pretentiousness can't help but overwhelm the project despite the Colour's best intentions. There are germs of creative ideas here, the musicians seem competent enough, and they conjure up an effective, often energetic sense of drama. Yet, ironically, the band comes off as colorless. It needs to plow a less derivative field and might try finding a better name, too.

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