Arriving with a heavy dose of new wave synths and sprinklings of jagged art-pop guitar, New York duo Color Film offer their debut full-length, Living Arrangements, via the SideOneDummy label. Formed in 2012 by Daryl Palumbo (Glassjaw) and Richard Penzone (Men, Women, & Children), Color Film pools the two musicians' combined influences into a vibrant amalgam of early-'80s pop forms with a contemporary indie attitude. Historically speaking, this project is more in keeping with Penzone's electro-pop past than with the gritty post-hardcore of Palumbo's earlier work, but Living Arrangements does have some heavier elements poking out between the frenetic John Taylor-esque bass lines and bright, chiming guitar grooves. Songs like "Ambush Bug" and "Bass in 7" have a frantic, almost cathartic feel that pairs well with the album's dynamic early-MTV framework. The complex but tuneful standout, "Restless Summer," offers Color Film's best shot at a pop single, but for all of its craft and musicianship, much of Living Arrangements feels like an enjoyable, if somewhat rote, tribute to the very specific sound of another era.
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AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger