Colour the Atlas – Opaline EP

OpalineColour the Atlas are one of Swindon’s most talked about up-and-coming bands. With a recent signing to Sony’s RCA label and an addition to Fearne Cottons’ BBC Radio 1 Playlist under their belt, the band are quickly building momentum to find their feet within the industry. They’ve worked together since their mid-teens, and have grown with one another, sculpting their sound and are ultimately working towards releasing their debut album. Recorded at Stuart Rowe’s Lighterthief studios in Swindon, Opaline is Colour the Atlas’ third EP.

The record marks a more mature approach to songwriting, with a deeper and denser sound. Opaline features an array of interesting textures from the works of Rowe, whose production compliments the band’s playing and has helped them to develop as a group. Being known for his experimental work, his production and creative input becomes most prominent as the EP unfolds with developing textures that add colour and life to the listening experience.

Honestly, the first half of the EP is a bit too poppy for my liking and notably producer Jake Gosling (Ed Sheeran, George Ezra) was involved with the EP’s lead track “That Sound”. I’m not sure if it’s the heavy use of harmonies or the colour of the production, but I find myself getting bored. For a band that regards themselves as trip-hop, it’s all a bit too clean. Although the South West is known for its alternative and trip-hop sounds, Colour the Atlas’ consideration of the genre flexes a bit far.

However, the second half of the EP offers a much stronger set of songs. It leaves many of its pop attributes behind and turns to a deeper and darker sound, showcasing exactly how far the band has travelled since their inception. The final track from the EP, “Look Inside really showcases the band’s maturity as well as being the strongest song from the EP and the most true to the trip-hop claims.

Colour the Atlas list many artists as their influences that I struggle to hear within their music. Featuring the likes of Cinematic Orchestra and Robert Glasper, the band’s ambition to be somewhat alternative and more mature is too ambiguous. Although the EP showcases a mature progression which hints at better things to come, I can’t help but feel the EP is more trip-pop than trip-hop.

Release: 12th October 2014, Sony

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