reviewed by Chris Matei
Despite making it something of a personal mission to stay on top of the ever-changing parade of works in progress within Vancouver music scene, Colourful Language – Dave Warne and Zoe Fitch – must have slipped underneath my radar. And what a shame, too, for their self-titled EP is a whirling, bubbling mix of driving indie rock energy and galactically-oriented, eighties-style disco ball synthetic melodic pop.
Fitch and Warne share lead vocal duties throughout: the balance between his Robin Pecknold-evoking tonality and her bright, vivacious energy plays to the band’s strengths in a manner that reminded me of Montreal’s revered indie dramatists, Stars. There’s a closeness here that comes from the pairing of artists not only in a musical context, but a deeply personal one.
The duo combines simple hooks and vigorous execution with an approach to songcraft that shows their willingness to experiment and make the most of what the studio has offered them. Using the sound of a delay eating its own tail as a pad on opener “Come On,” or exploring a wide range of keyboarded textures on “Weakest One” makes the songs feel like genuinely new ideas rather than rehashings of indietronic genre tropes.
The album’s last two tracks offer a woozy, space-travel take on progged out textures and looser, more jammy feel than their predecessors: this works especially well on the sun-dappled, heady album closer, “The River.” The simplicity and solidity of Colourful Language‘s core ideas, however, still carry through these less buttoned down arrangements.
If you’re looking for a late summer shake up to your musical rotation, one with energy but not irreverence, melodic intricacy mixed with with control and drive, you may be pleasantly surprised as I was by these Vancouverites.
Top Tracks: “Weakest One”; “The River”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)