Baader-Meinhof. It’s a thing. Yesterday I was sitting around wondering about the demise/lack of output from of Head Automatica, reflecting on Glassjaw, and today Color Film’s debut album appears on my lap.
Anything involving Daryl Palumbo is golden. He could trot out barks and squeal like a mutt-piggle and we’d all lap it up, a bit like Mike Patton in that respect. We’ve seen a fairly diverse journey from the anger of ‘Cosmopolitan Bloodloss’ through to the infectious pop melodies of ‘Beating Heart Baby’, so to hear a mildly more reserved approach is welcome refreshment.
His partner in crime for this offering is Richard Penzone, also from Head Automatica. Described as a multi-instrumentalist, his input is clear with a broad range of ‘world percussion’ in the rhythm sections of the tracks from bongos, conga, marimbas or balafon or something in ‘Springtime of our Love’. There are also the eternally unforgivable pan pipes, but you know what, we’ve finally found an album where they actually work well. Everything across Living Arrangements is so well balanced it forms one homogenous rhythmic beat, interspersed with synth stabs, guitar chords and fret-muted rhythmic work which is often shared by two guitars, one in each speaker.
There’s elements of erratic punk here and there (‘Ambush Bug’ has an element of Cardiacs about it) but the overall drive of the work is the subtle revival use of synthesisers. Some of the tracks wouldn’t be out of place in a contemporary re-make of GTA: Vice City, ‘Restless Summer’, for instance.
Some lovely bass work here and there is a welcome element, as you’d expect of Penzone, and with the wealth of other sounds it’s good to see it spotlighted in ‘Bass in Seven’ instead of relegated to being a plodding workhorse.
‘Even If It Did Exist’ is reminiscent of Simple Minds, there’s hints of Ladyhawke (‘I Need a Parasite’), there’s some wonderfully tight mic’d and reverb-laden bass tom punches. The only track that stands out different from the other is ‘Day After Day’, the album closer, which has the same dark drawl as Faith No More’s ‘Caralho Voador’ and is of a much slower tempo. But it does contain synths, arpeggiators and in my head is the most beautiful Miami sunset I’ve never witnessed.
This is definitely going to be an album for this summer heat. Windows down, cruise along the West Coast to Borth & Ynyslas Golf Club. Totally congruous. Do it.
Living Arrangements by Color Film is out on 16th June 2017 via Epitaph.