Seattle’s Colorworks deem themselves a ‘60s psych-pop band, though I’d argue against the psych aspect but totally agree with the pop one. The trio comprised of vocalist/guitarist Bret Dylan, bassist and vocalist Nick Myette and drummer Andrew Ginn play sunny sounding pop tunes accompanied by well-orchestrated vocal harmonies on their first EP Joyla Red.
Joyla Red opens with the most psych-sounding song on the record, “Joyla Red” which certainly takes cues from the likes of ‘60s psych pop icons like The Zombies and The Byrds. The opening guitar line runs parallel to so many opening riffs of Byrd’s songs that it seems more of an ode than a lack of originality. They use the riff again in the bridge, and the sitar peel effects are hinted at throughout the song.
On “Paris, You Take Care” Colorworks cross over into the jangly piano pop of Rubber Soul era Beatles. The tune is particularly catchy for many reasons. First is the instrumentation, which brings in a bouncy piano riff that flows along so well with simple but effective drumming style that Ringo made so popular. The second being the brilliant harmonies, which accompany the melody, making “Paris, You Take Care” an instantly head-bobbing hummable pop tune.
Speaking of Rubber Soul era Beatles, “Just Mine” contains a “Drive My Car” guitar line. Though it fails to keep up the with the pop sensibilities and hooks that made The Beatles “The Beatles” although there seems to be no lack of trying on the part of Colorworks. The next song “Feelings Lie” is shimmery enough, with its tinny guitar chugs and more upbeat percussion. It is at once such a deviation from the ‘60s feel that it sounds a bit out of place from the rest of the record. A B side perhaps. The same goes for the album’s closer “Memory Boy” which sounds more steeped in late ‘90s indie pop than anything else.
All in all Joyla Red has some bright spots on it, though as a whole the album seems very piecemeal. This is often the case when young bands try to focus their attention on a specific genre. They end up copying the easy parts, in this case harmonies and guitars, but they fail to see the subtle nuances, which are the real heart and soul of the genre. Color works might be better suited in using their talents and dropping the hard and fast influences and perhaps they’ll find their band’s true colors.
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