COLONY HOUSE - When I Was Younger (Descendant Records)
A colleague asked me the other day what my favorite CH song was. It stopped me in my tracks. This is so unlike me. I have a favorite of everything. But it had never even occurred to me to pick a favorite off this record. And I realized it was because I couldn't begin to. Nor do I need to. I love "2:20" for its rowdy, surf-rock sensiblity. I'm still partial to "Keep On Keeping On" for its ability to take a cliche, and turn it into a profound, motivating rock song. "Roll With The Punches" will scratch your retro itch. "Moving Forward" would fit nicely on any of Coldplay's last three albums, and reaches incredible anthemic heights. What a profound declaration. And the underrated "Glorious" is among the most practical and unique takes on heaven ever captured in music.
WIWY is marked by layer after layer of production and nuance, all the while avoiding overkill. Thematically, it does a wonderful job of portraying the hope of the Gospel without ever once giving a sermon.
Will Chapman's never-sit-still drumming married with Caleb's singer/songwriter tunes make for a fairly unique brand of rock and roll. And the latter utilizes his falsetto as deftly as anyone you'll hear in modern music. To say it's "Keane meets Killers" is too easy. Tennessee-flavored Brit-Rock doesn't quite do it justice either. As the album ages toward its end, it becomes increasingly difficult to believe that these lyrics, concepts and arrangements came from a rookie band comprised of twenty-somethings. It listens like a greatest hits of sorts, but is conceptually too airtight to be so.
WIWY ends with "Lose Control." The song's primary hook is an all-too perfect summary for this collection of music: "We can't keep fighting for a steady life, so I'll ride the wind like a feather toward home." If most of us could have only learned that truth in our early 20s, how much wasted mental energy and frustration could have been saved...
***** out of 5 stars