On their second release Color/Echo EP Missouri five-piece, The Invisible World mixes up a cocktail of rock influences that they strain and serve a couple of different ways - with some songs trending slightly in a darker, expansive and brooding direction while others remain upbeat and lighthearted - as well as throwing a little curveball in there along the way.
The Invisible World very much seems to be, at their heart, a roots rock band that sways between stretched out alternative sounds and upbeat whimsy with country elements dancing around the periphery and occasionally cutting in.
The album opens straightforward enough with the title track alternating between an aggressively tumbling forward, cylindrical guitar that stops and stretches to accommodate mid-tone vocals. The gentle backing vocals support the lyrics and provide a consistent undercurrent for the track as it hurls forward. The third entry on the album “The Way” carries a similar tone, but slows the momentum down and stretches it out enough to suggest a foreboding sense while still steering the song forward. The third act of the track really shines, as the layers of vocals cascade across a slow burning, drum-tumbling bridge.
But while the EP shows promise with these thoughtful, darker tracks, it looses traction by alternating them with upbeat songs that feature totally different vocal stylings and a sense of whimsy that creates a bit of discord within the record and with what impression the listener should be left with overall. The second song “Bellamy” sticks out between the two aforementioned tracks with an alt-rock version of ska giddiness, warbling along with a happy-go-lucky Barenaked Ladies sort of positive messaging. While there's nothing wrong with that approach, the song stands in stark contrast to the ones on either side of it and left this listener quite confused as to what the band is going for. Similarly, “Joliet” reprises that ’90s vocal styling. “Brick By Brick” slows it down a bit with the vocals lilting a bit more in a country direction by the chorus.
In an act of redemption, the final track “Oughta Know” really seems to amalgamate these two disparate directions. The song features bright guitars, mid-range vocals, a similar trade-off between vocal and guitar lines dominating the verse and an overall sensibility that lands somewhere between the Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. It's a good song and a great bookend across the album from the opening track.
Ultimately Color/Echo EP stands as a collection of six well-crafted songs that don't necessarily make for a coherent album. It feels like there are two separate EP's here, or half of an LP that needs some padding for the sake of transitioning between these tracks.
It's worth noting that these guys are an unarguably solid band—there are no specific parts that feel out of place, or aspects of songs that really need something else to fill in the gaps. All of the tracks maintain an energy level and individual cohesion that's indicative of a seasoned touring band.
The Invisible World seems to be straddling two planes of existence on this EP—neither bad or ineffective, but neither particularly well suited for the proximity they share with one another on this release.
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