This debut full-length from Minneapolis rock dreamers Night Moves was in many ways the end goal of the first few years of their existence. Rather than hone their songs by playing live or building a local buzz, Night Moves focused on recording a meticulously pieced-together early version of Colored Emotions, using the studio as a filter for their starry-skied '70s-leaning indie rock. This remixed and revamped version of the album's summer 2011 rough draft comes as the band's official debut, and the result is a collection of shimmering songs rooted in the radio pop sensibilities of Fleetwood Mac or Todd Rundgren, but also owing much to the acid casualty cowboy indie country sounds of Beachwood Sparks and a rock backbone borrowed directly from Marc Bolan. Starting strong with the one-two punch of "Headlights" and "Country Queen," Night Moves open their album with cosmic rock rhythms and guitarist/lead singer John Pelant's vocals soaring and searching through spacy reverb and gentle soft rock harmonies. There's a hazy campfire feel to much of the album, with twangy guitars and big-sky organ flourishes meeting up with Laurel Canyon-style moments of soft restraint. Album centerpiece "Old Friends" is one of Colored Emotions' most opulent selections, with orchestrated pop melancholia rising to a fierce crescendo and spilling over into its short addendum, "Put Out Your Shoulder." The album is more about a cohesive statement and sustained feeling, much in the style of classic rock staples like the Rolling Stones' wintry Goats Head Soup and Fleetwood Mac's frazzled masterpiece Tusk. The attention to detail in the production tucks away subtleties in the songs, making the album both a grower and one that rewards repeat listens. Pelant's sprawling vocal range might gather comparisons to MGMT, but the similarities are less in the frontmen's vocals and more in the complex layers of disparate sounds both bands tend to build their music from. The heavenly autoharp and nighttime desert landscape of the title track winds Colored Emotions to a close, ending a promising debut and one more considered, nuanced, and realized than most bands achieve deep into their tenures.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas