Girl Colors / Japanese Roses
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There I was, trying to find someone on Craigslist willing to lower their standards enough to play music with me, when I clicked on a link to a local music video. I know it was local because I had to double check it a couple of times. This great music (and the equally impressive video) came out of the wee little burg of Fort Wayne?
Girl Colors are three gents who focus heavily on the song, with melodies and catchy, hummable parts that are equally nostalgic and modern. “Saint Anthony’s Fire,” the first song that I heard, is sparse, with clean guitars playing a 50s guitar-style accompaniment to mournful lyrics. Like most of the songs on Japanese Roses, this one is brief, about three minutes. But during that time Girl Colors reel in your heart but turn wicked at the end, changing this charming tune into a psychedelic fuzzed up dream sequence.
The title song utilizes glockenspiel, tastefully over-driven guitars and solid drumming by Kyle Smith. The laconic “Impossible Days” has the great rhyme, “This old town has driven me to madness / Oh, how she moves / She hypnotizes with sadness,” backed with an early Beatles rock vibe.
“Reservoir” sports a refreshingly gritty, lo-fi guitar tone similar to The Replacements. Halfway through, soft organs break through the din while guitarist Nick Walmer leads us through a charmingly ratty guitar solo. It’s bassist Kyle Spears’ turn to add hair to his tone on “No Sleep,” a song of puzzling lyrics and jangly guitars that culminates in a pleading chorus of “Pressure pushing down on you / No sleep.” Also enjoyable is “Way Out” which pairs light organs with a 70s light rock chorus and more playfully depressing lyrics (“I saw a plane crash today / No one died so it’s okay.”)
The last time my neurons got this excited over a local band was when I heard one of the many bands of the late great Mark Hutchins. In fact, there are many similarities between Girl Colors and Hutchins, including an amazing way of making their delightfully desolate songs sound so polished and complete despite having only minimal parts. The sound palate is very clean and concise, with no unnecessary extras to clutter up the sonic landscape, a kind of light and airy touch that shows great restraint and even greater songwriting skill.
You can hear this amazing new band for yourself on April 13 for their album release show at Neat Neat Neat Records. You won’t be disappointed.