In modern electronica, much of the genre can seem like uninspired noise. But then a band like Color War comes along and proves otherwise. Color War provides a perfect album, with a sound comprised of singer Lindsay Mound’s incredibly vocals fused with guitar/synth/programming bandmate Justin “Billy J” Lin’s equally impressive beats.
Color War’s debut full-length album, It Could Only Be This Way, is described by their label Four Horseman Records’ as an “arsenal of layered synthesizers, guitars, and stripped down beats.” If you want to describe it so simply, that is definitely what it is. But once you start listening to the 12-song LP, it becomes more of a musical journey, with their already successful single, “SOS,” leading the way.
It Could Only Be This Way begins with “Plate Tectonics,” which introduces us to the album with twinkling notes reminiscent of the stars on the album cover art. Soon, those notes are accompanied by drum and piano overlays that break way to Mound’s vocals. It provides an excellent starting point to the album by gently easing you into the sound that is Color War.
Early on in the album, listener’s will hear the third song, “Stars Like Glass,” which is a quick, purely instrumental track. The reason that I like “Stars Like Glass” and its place on the album is that it reminds us that Color War is a duo of artists from Brooklyn, and that Billy J provides an equal share of talent. While, of course, he is found amidst Mound’s vocals throughout the album, these snippets of solely Billy J, that are excellent even without vocals, can be heard in “The Infinity Broadcast” and the eerie “Twin Spires.”
Other personal favorites on the album include “U Saved My Life,” (which has a hint of Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”), the darker sound that is “Baby Don’t Make Me Worry,” and “Shapeshifting,” one that just begs you to groove to the beat. It Could Only Be This Way, however, is a magnificent album in its entirety; choosing favorites was hard.
The final song, included with the digital download of the album but not the vinyl that is being released from the record label, is the exquisitely crafted “Kaaterskill Falls.” Another instrumental track (that gives Billy J equal standing against Lindsay Mound’s vocals on this album), it gives It Could Only Be This Way a serene and graceful ending that leaves you begging for more.
Admittedly, the vocals throughout the album can become more repetitive in nature than some listeners would like and, at times, the synths will remind you a great deal of typical music from the 80s. It is how Color War takes their unique compilation of sound and not only makes it their own, but does it in an incredibly successful manner that makes their debut album just that – the perfect debut. I, for one, cannot wait to hear more from Color War in the future.
You can purchase a digital CD (download) of the album here, and pre-order the limited vinyl (that comes with a digital copy of the album) here. The album is can also be found and purchased on iTunes and Bandcamp.
For more about Color War, or to buy concert tickets, visit their website here.
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