From the first song on Plunder, Beg and Curse, Colour Revolt presents itself as a band of contrast. “Naked and Red,” that triumphant and multi-faceted opener, is mired in swampy grooves, dense distortion and churning darkness. And yet, there’s a dreamy quality about the song, with Interpol-like effects and soaring leads that pick the song up from its boggy, Hellish depths and into great, astral heights.
“Naked and Red” is just one example of the ground that Colour Revolt treads (and the planes upon which they soar), though the Oxford, Miss., band showcases an astonishing level of depth throughout their debut full-length’s ten tracks. Already compared to a combination of Coldplay and Modest Mouse, the five piece expands well beyond these narrow alternative radio staples and deliver mighty highs and grumbling lows.
Colour Revolt provide a great balance, though certainly not a delicate one. They’re just not that delicate of a band. Even at their most subdued and subtle, jagged edges abound and every catchy, glossy hook is tossed with a fair amount of grit. “A Siren” chugs with the bluesy swagger of Rid of Me-era PJ Harvey, an abrasive sound if there ever was one. “Elegant View” is a slower, plodding ballad, yet still harsh and dirty in its subtlety. “Moses of the South” espouses more Harvey-isms, particularly with its muted guitar plucks, though with more effects and gentle ambience.
“Swamp” has as much sludge and Southern gothic dread as its name might suggest, even more so, actually. It’s a highlight of the album for its sheer intensity, and with its skronky Isaac Brock-like string bends, is one of the few songs that truly merits a Modest Mouse comparison. And “Ageless Everytime” has an immediacy about it that rivals that first opening powerhouse, but with a tad more danceable swagger. With each song, Colour Revolt sounds simultaneously dark, grimy, surreal and weightless. They could just as easily stick to one or the other and probably do a pretty good job at it, but their unique amalgam is what truly sets them apart.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.