As someone who writes about my own local music surroundings on an almost daily basis, what ends up in front of me can sometimes be more of a chore than choice. Colour The Atlas, however, are one of the bands whose releases I will openly admit that I get truly excited about. Not that they are exactly a “local” band in the implied meaning of the word but they are geographically, after all every local band has to come from somewhere.
It is great when you watch a band slowly develop and seeing The Jess Hall Band evolve into todays Colour The Atlas has been a lesson all bands can learn from. Not just how to grow at your own pace to a point where you are getting national tour support slots, but how to take something that you are good at and turn it into a truly unique art form.
Colour The Atlas trade in atmospheres as much as they do music, often using the space between the instruments as much as the instruments themselves. It is the art of using music to build shells around space, space that is filled with intangible qualities, emotions, fleeting memories, love and loss, sense and sensuality, dreams and reflection. Around these atmospheres they weave vibrant yet delicate shells from sumptuous vocal harmony, pastoral trip-hop soundscapes, soaring dynamics and shimmering guitars.
Recording Opaline at Lighterthief Studio has turned out to be the perfect pairing of band and environment, the production itself becoming another player in its own right. Trademark incidental sounds hover around the periphery of the songs providing an additional pallet of colours and textures for the band to play with; exotic tabla beats, haunting vibrato, warped musical motifs and simmering background washes for the songs to float on.
This is a phenomenal collection of songs, unique, imaginative, sensuous and achingly beautiful and can only make the following full album one of the most anticipated releases in a long time.