The Colour - Between Earth & Sky Review
by Dan MacIntosh
Q. What do you get when you mix classic rock radio with a Christian college education?
A. A little blue heaven, and a lot of brimstone red.
The Colour, a band of Southern California boys with a distinct Rolling Stones fixation, first met at a Christian college. And while not evangelical, they nevertheless have no sympathy for the devil. "Devil's got a Holda Me," for instance, stridently protests Satan's evil Kung Fu grip. This struggle with Diablo's smothering embrace is one of the CD's more un-Stones-y moments as it mimics Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" via a few Robert Plant-ian lonely, lonely, lonelys, instead of relying upon snotty Jagger vocalisms. Such Led and Stone elements focus The Colour's attention on classic rock, not Christianity's solid rock. So rather than asking what Jesus would do, The Colour channel a few of their favorite '70s rockers, instead.
Biola College may teach students all about living in the Spirit, but these horny fellas are obsessed with the flesh. "Kill the Lights" reinforces why night time is the right time for, well, you know what. But when vocalist Wyatt Hull begs, "Just give me a chance to explain," you immediately realize he is having far less than some enchanted evening. Whenever Hull expresses spiritual stuff, he also exposes an inner Doubting Thomas. "How you gonna save me when you can't save yourself?" he skeptically asks during "Save Yourself." "Save Yourself" is another cut that sidesteps The Glimmer Twins' impact, by the way, as it imitates the linear guitar lines of The Strokes.
I won't be surprised if these musicians get even roots-ier with their next release. Hints of a backwards glancing pursuit are everywhere. "Just a Taste" is colored with harmonica, whereas soulful organ underpins "Salt the Earth" and "Dirge to Earth & Sky" closes the disc with what can best be described as waltz time blues. The Rolling Stones were originally inspired by the blues, after all, and you cannot get much more roots-y than that. So if The Colour continue to roll after the Stones, they're traveling a trail that leads directly back to Robert Johnson's crossroads.
It's too soon to say if The Colour are the real deal or just perfectly aping their influences for now. But "Between Earth & Sky" consistently incorporates the choicest inspirations, making it awfully hard to dislike. At the very least, they're mighty colorful chameleons.
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