September 13, 2013

"Little Games," by The Colourist

I tell you what, I'm really torn over this week's free single. Normally when the folks at iTunes tap an alt pop single I expect it to be a real gem, but "Little Games" is just not doing it for me. But I digress.

The group is The Colourist, a four person act out of California releasing their first EP, Lido. They laid some groundwork before producing any tracks - they performed with indie giant Grouplove and appeared at Coachella, as well as opening for Youngblood Hawke and Atlas Genius (both groups that have featured iTunes free singles in the past year).

It's an impressive resume for a group with one EP, but I don't see The Colourist rising up to their likes anytime soon based on their published work.

The opening of this song troubles me. We have these carnival guitar chords that serve as an unnecessary introduction to the song. The lyrics come in and we hear the Adam Castilla's airy, underpowered vocals for the first time. We hear Maya Tuttle on drums for the first time, and props to the female drummer, but it's a boring, sparse beat. Finally we reach the chorus and get some real action, but the transition from the verse is so jarring that it's hard for me to enjoy.

Continue the formulaic patter of verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus and two minutes and 42 seconds later you're at the end of the song. If you're like me, you reach the end of that 2:42 and feel absolutely nothing. This isn't a bad song. But it's not a good song either. It's just boring. Maybe - just maybe - if it were carried by a pair of vocalists with some real power in their voices, propelled by a more interesting drum beat or garnished with a rockin' guitar solo or two it might be enough to hold my interest, but as it stands it's just boring music. This song is the stereotypical going-nowhere indie pop song, and I fear that's the same route The Colourist will be taking.

The other tracks on Lido have a lot of the same problems that this single does. Dull and formulaic with nothing to shock and awe the listener. The only song that evokes any kind of emotional response from me is "Fix This," the last on the four track EP. It's the only song with enough energy to get me to bob my head in spite of the repetitive song structure and predictable drums and guitar riffs.

If you want some decent free music this week, don't go to iTunes. Check out, and explore the bluegrass genre by listening to Noam Pikelny, virtuoso banjo player. Steer away from this quintessential California indie band. You can do better. "Little Games" warrants a middle of the road...

2.5 out of 5.

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