Album Review: Outline In Color - Self-Titled EP
- No Bleeding on the Carpet
- Every Boy Should Collect Knives
- One of Two Ways
- My Other Car is a Time Machine
In case you missed the recommendation I wrote for them, check that out before continuing any further with this review. Keep in mind that was written without having heard mastered tracks, only demos. At that time I didn’t even know they were in the process of recording their EP and, since finding out, I’ve been eagerly awaiting its arrival. About a month later, their self-titled EP emerges and I couldn’t be happier. Whoever it was that asked if I was going to review it, the answer is no. Instead, I’m going to rant for a few paragraphs about how brilliant it is and how depressed I am they have no Jersey/Philadelphia tour dates listed.
The whole sixth-member-plays-synth aspect of bands has become a trend that is typically executed horridly. Unless they can also shred on a piano, I don’t want to hear it. However, when it works, it really works. Some bands don’t need their synth player to be successful — it’s just an added bonus (when it actually works, like I said) that enhances their sound. This is one of those bands. There isn’t an aspect of Outline In Color’s music that doesn’t fit or that you listen to and wonder why they did that, or why that member of the band is even there. Six members, six instruments that shine in their own way. While their vocalists separate them from the rest of these auto-tuned sheep that no one would listen to if it weren’t for their sweet haircuts and tight pants, the four remaining members aren’t there just for show. You can’t ignore them because they make sure doing such a thing would be impossible. Until it comes to the last track, this band is in your face for a solid fifteen minutes. And, even at the end, it’s almost like they’re apologizing for kicking your face in so badly. Apology accepted, guys. Thanks for the killer tunes.
The EP kicks off with “No Bleeding on the Carpet,” which, if played in a room with carpeting, will render its title useless. However, don’t start the slaying before the chorus kicks in. Have your dance party, then, if you still feel the slaying is necessary, let it commence. Putting the vocals on the back burner temporarily, pay attention to the drumming in this song. Even though I’ve never seen this band live (can this change, please?) I can imagine the amount of shredding done during this song. It ranges from heavy hitting to melodic, making sure to incorporate all the aspects I’ve come to adore during my love affair with this genre. If I had to pick my favorite part of this song, I’d have to say it’s the gang vocals.
Next comes “Every Boy Should Collect Knives,” which is a showcase of the screamer’s abilities. Highs to lows are coming at you from all angles, which is absolutely essential if you’re going to fill that role in a band. Just like you wouldn’t want your singer to only sing in one note, you wouldn’t want your screamer to only do lows. This also where the aforementioned synth player shines. Like I said earlier, if you can’t also shred on a piano, I don’t want to hear it. The electronic aspects of this song are just as brutal as the guitar riffs or double kick in the drums. If you’re only going to give me 85%, you might as well keep your EP to yourself. Outline In Color give more than that, though, and it shows.
When we arrive at “One of Two Ways,” we’re given a song I almost didn’t expect. Once the first minute ends, you’re thrown into some kind of bridge I’d expect to only encounter in some type of heavy metal. The rest of the song is no slouch, either. Frantic drumming fades into calm, melodic guitar riffs. There’s a brief break toward the end while the singing layers on top of impressive double kicking before fading into the next track, “My Other Car Is a Time Machine,” which is easily my favorite. This is a song that you can just tell tears apart venues. At least I know it would where I’m from. Kids live for this type of song — the type where they can do their ridiculous looking two-stepping and get a break to collect themselves before launching right back into it, not getting another opportunity to do so until the song’s over.
If you thought this EP was going to be all doom and gloom, think again. The final track, “Promises,” goes acoustic. You know, like those redundant Punk Goes Acoustic records? Instead, it’s kicking-and-screaming goes soft, giving their singer something to be proud of. It’s reassuring to know bands are capable of more than one sound. I’d listen to this band if they were acoustic and love them as much as I would if they only played with their full band. However, since I’m given the best of both worlds, I’m going to take it and run. It’s common to see bands who can execute music incredibly but face plant when it comes to lyricism. While I can’t pretend to know what they’re saying all the time, I can actually understand the lyrics to this song, and they aren’t a fail at all. This is coming from someone who idolizes Jesse Lacey, so take it for what its worth, which may be something or absolutely nothing at all. When this song hits the 3:30 mark and transitions into the full band (sans the screaming) I literally get a chill up my spine every single time. Bravo.
It’s a rare occurrence that a band enters my life and instantly makes me fall in love. I’m open to all types of music but it’s not often that I find a band I absolutely swoon over. Outline In Color have managed to make me do that even before releasing an EP. I’ve already posted a tweet recommending them to all of my friends, and the ones who actually listened came to the same conclusion that I did: this is a well-rounded band who have incredible potential. It’s said all the time that bands mature and come into their own a few releases deep. With that in mind, I’m stoked to see what they come up with a few years down the road. Until then, I might just have to take a trip to Oklahoma to see them live if I can’t see them closer, and I’ve never had a desire to go to Oklahoma in my life.
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