Artist: Color Me Valiant
Album: Secrets EP
Color Me Valiant’s debut EP may as well have been a full length. The songs tend to be quite lengthy and brim with enough effort and determination to lend Secrets the accomplished feel of a proper record. It’s an excellent album, EP or otherwise, showcasing plenty of ability and vision as well as the execution skills to tie all together effectively. The songs, as a general rule, are strong and engaging pieces, mixing a heavy and fearless ethos with melody and thoughtfulness.
“The Lamb” crashes in with an emphatic gang vocal. Its firm intentions are obvious, though these mellow somewhat with the gradual emergence of more careful, melodic moments. The vocals, for instance, waiver as the song progresses and switch from growling to clean singing and exalted harmonies. This is put to particularly impressive use during a clean, quieter verse with hushed instruments, providing a vivid contrast to the charged riffs powering the track. “Daggers in Men’s Smiles” is more climactic, though not without retaining the balanced approach. There are lighter breakdowns with clean singing for every screech and churning riff and these work well in adding some feeling and richness to the song. It’s an excellent track even during its more aggressive moments, but the softer elements help to streamline the sound and ensure nothing gets lost in distortion and feedback.
The intro on “A Modest Proposal,” meanwhile, seems almost radio-friendly. It’s a bit slower on the uptake than the others and initially has a very intensive, rigid sound. It loosens up slightly with the chorus but saves its best moments for last. The closing verses, replete with key-like backing effects, hint at loftier ambitions and give the song a touch of majesty, inspired perhaps by their stated religious aims. “China Doll Tragedy” is a sombre comedown. The vocals are low, grave, and remorseful, edging along over music that burns with an incendiary and vengeful spark. Everything eventually converges into a stormy mass of incomprehensible noise but there’s more of a storytelling vibe to this track and it feels more considered and structured.
“Foul Is Fair” seems awkward and burdened at first and takes some time to find its feet. When it does come around, it evolves into something strikingly graceful with guest female vocals, strings, and a big hearty chorus. Its message is clear and unmistakeable, though maybe not as effective as the band would have liked given the shapeshifting the song goes through to get there.
“As the Romans Do” is a resolute and determined track. Its deliberately catchy rhythm isn’t enough to save it from its own ambition however, as it meanders its way through five minutes of sloppy interruptions. “The Lion” has all the focus the former lacked and benefits from a cutting leading riff and impressive vocal work. The song has a coursing and relentless intensity and builds to a fine finish with a lofty solo.
All in all, there’s a lot to love here. The care and attention the band have put into crafting their music is obvious and they are largely rewarded with an eye-catching and stimulating EP. Color Me Valiant are a name worth keeping an eye on.
Review written by Grace Duffy