Saturday, 21st April 2018. 8:51:09pm ET
Reviews CD Reviews Alternative, Indie Rock The Color Guard- Dark Pop


Artist: The Color Guard
CD Title: Dark Pop
Label: Suziblade Music
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 12/18/04

Dark Pop, the new album from New York City four-piece The Color Guard, is probably not what you'd expect from an album that includes such instrumental credits as triangle, music box, flute, glockenspiel, and Latin prayers. Rather than a diverse, ethereal-tinged, worldly blend of…well…dark pop, the band instead delivers an alt rock formula that sometimes warrants comparisons to the more melodic work of bands like Babes in Toyland, Veruca Salt, The Breeders, and The Pixies. Often juxtaposing pop melodies and intertwining lush vocal layers with an almost grungy, rough-around-the-edges guitar rock sound, the album is refreshingly unpolished without sounding under-produced or sloppy.

There are several highlights on the album. "Your Kiss Is My Command" blends flute with a central eastern melody for a slightly eclectic grungy alt rock number. The ultra-cool simple bass riff, nice indie rock bridge, and semi-chaotic, almost early-U2-anthem-esque chorus of "In a Hurricane" certainly make it stand out. "Man of War" is a killer, lighter moody track, kicking off with military drums before incorporating triangle and showcasing some spectacular lead guitar work. "Damn You, Hope!" has a killer foreboding intro that makes excellent use of muted guitar strums and harmonics before evolving into a mellow track punctuated by extremely cool steady drum/bass breaks.

The disc's other offerings, while not quite as noteworthy, are consistently solid and all rather good. The opening "Transatlantic Void" is a groove-driven alt rock number with a somewhat raucous chorus. "My Domesticated Beast" is something of a stuttering distorted riff-driven track, while "October" is a more upbeat, airy mellow rock offering with a faster, quirky rock bridge and chorus. The following "The Moral" is built around a punctuated bass riff with heavily layered vocals, while the up-tempo "Unfinished Business" is a somewhat more straightforward foray into Breeders-esque poppy alt rock. "The Woman Behind the Woman (Oh Mary Magdalene)" is a great epic album-closing rock ballad with a mellow guitar arpeggio verse and an intense chorus.

As a whole, Dark Pop is an excellent offering. It's an album that's far more likely to appeal to fans of early-mid 90s indie/alt/grunge rock than fans of…say…The Cure or Dead Can Dance. However, with that in mind, it's a well written, performed, and produced album that's often powerful and raw yet layered and melodic. Anyone looking for a nice slice of refreshingly rough alt rock that's a bit left of center will find a hip and hearty 44 minutes worth here.

 

The Color Guard website: www.thecolorguard.com

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