Progressive rock band, Now in Colour is based in Sydney, Australia and for the moment, they are a bass, guitar, drums trio. However, their first release Now In Colour by the same name turned out to have a heavy use of the synth, and so adding a fourth player looks to be in the works for this young band. Although not having much experience under their belts, the group did get some radio airplay with one of their singles in North Carolina. The band recorded, mixed and mastered Now in Colouri n their home studio (that they affectionately call “The Lab”) over the course of 14 months. They state that the album has a lot of variation across the tracks – from “quiet, synth driven moments all the way up to death metal growls and dissonant guitars, to weird obscure prog-rock sections and stuff that's pretty undeniably pop.”
The band also focused heavily on the album structure, leaning towards the prog genre, and they took great care in the order of the songs, transitioning from one to the other. The opening song “Love, Don’t Fail Me Now!” begins with a grand theatrical mix of metal, progressive rock ballad styles and just a hint of what sounds like traditional Celtic music. A great way to start off this album. “Manifest Destiny” get even more explosive and tense. The drummer/percussionist Jasper goes off the rails with his crazy drum fills, listen closely or you’ll miss them. I think the piano/keys were a terrific additional, just what this song needed, as well as the quick midi beat to stir things up. The very last verse sums up well what ‘Manifest Destiny’ was all about – that’s if you remember from your high school history class. Either that, or just Google it.
“Drift” offers a lighter sound to start out with a prettier melody. The tempo changes during the chorus with lyrics that speak of embarking on a journey inside a “city of pretending” where “you can be anything you want to be - a pirate or an astronaut.” This tune really shows off the dynamics of the band, from soft and gentle rhythms to hard and driven rock riffs. “Seafoam” begins with tender piano sounds. I liked the way the piano followed the singer’s (Niko) voice and how the song just kept revealing more textures and surprises. The bassist, Beaux, played some awesome bass melodies, too. The lyrics to this one suggests the fragility of human life and questions “Am I divine or just debris?” “Am I an inevitability?” But the ending was really the wow factor for me, as a choir of voices joined in singing – it’s a truly beautiful sound and it was done so well!
“The Hourglass” has a more straightforward rock style and driving edge. I was captured by the band’s many change ups and tight rhythms, I mean – whoa! The words tell a story of what sounds like a blind date or that magical time of falling in love hard and fast. “Foregone Conclusion” is where the band really finds a sweet prog-rock groove and damn, did I mention it’s sweet? The bass drives forward solidly, the guitar is cutting, the key/synth balance the dark sounds with the lighter tones and the drums, well… they’re insane. In verse two, the band reveals something that I was expecting – that familiar metal angsty singing scream! So good. “The Thaw” is perhaps the bands most mellow song – ok, it pretty much is – but I also thought it was one of the band’s finest moments. Their romantic ballad songwriting prowess really shines well on this number.
Finally, we come to “Yeti” and don’t let the title fool you – as far as I could tell, the song’s lyrics reveal nothing about the Asian version of the elusive Bigfoot, nor hint of the legendary story. In fact, much of the words to this song are very complex and I couldn’t quite get what the song was about. However, I thought the two lines to verse two – “I push myself up on the side of the bed / Looks like my feet are still attached” was quite comical. It is by far the band’s longest and, in my view, most dynamic song. Vocal and guitar starts things off, drop out for a second or two with a short piano interlude, and then a booming energy of sound. There’s a driving bass and drum rhythm that feels familiar, while the guitar has a great cutting edge to it. Another tempo and arrangement change on verse three oh wait, and also on verse four. Heck, there are so many layers, chorus parts and arrangements that one should really listen to this last tune more than once. Overall, Now In Colour has something truly special and it was easy for me to tell that they really took their time to record and produce their first release. I’ve heard many other progressive bands before, but they bring something quite different to the genre. I’m not sure if it’s their delicate balance of lighter “ballad-like” style with the metal and theatrical driving rock beats, or if this is a well-worn path by other progressive Australian bands. In the end it didn’t matter to me, I enjoyed the ride.
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