Hearts and Citadels

The Colourful (now Stay the Shores) is a pop/rock band with an interesting spin of rock n’ roll added in. They could easily be compared to bands such as One Republic, Anberlin, and Tenth Avenue North. The funny thing is that description encompasses three distinct and wide genres. Sadly that’s about all I could come up with as far as describing this band’s musical style. The fact is that Hearts and Citadels has a nice variety of music on it. I would say, though, if you’re not a fan of pop/rock, you may immediately want to pass on this album. But if you are, let’s continue along…

Right from the beginning I realized that the production really halted this album from being something special. But I will be putting this aside for this review. I did want to mention it though.

Even with the production hiccups The Colourful are able to spin a lot of different sounds together and do it well. A perfect example is on the song Let’s Start Over “in which Brian Fannin’s vocals sound similar to those of the Newsboys’ old lead singer Peter Furler. With this more modern Newsboys influence there pops up an old new wave (The Cars Blondie etc.) and rock n’ roll (Beatles Beach Boys etc.) essence that I think majorly shakes things up. Hearts and Citadels plays out the majority of the time like this except for the few occasions when there is a softer pop ballad aroma. This influx in style balances and breaks up the album into well-played segments.

I know I said I would drop the whole “bad production” thing but while I was listening to this album I couldn’t help but think what the guitar parts would sound like if the production was crisper. I think that if the production had been crisper the guitars would have a sound a lot like The Kills meets Led Zeppelin. That’s not to say that this album sounds anything like the above-mentioned bands. I just think Zach “Prozac” Shea’s guitar work would sound like this.

The lyrics vary from summertime love and heartbreak to God and spirituality. They also flux between being very cheerfully happy to a kind of sad melancholy. Although the lyrics get serious at times they still are able to retain a positive “a light at the end of the tunnel” atmosphere.

While Hearts and Citadels isn’t perfect it still shows that for such a young band there is a lot of maturity in their music. One thing that might detract some people from liking this album is that their style isn’t going to win the most original band of the year award anytime soon. One big upside on the other hand is that they strayed away from having a more contemporary Christian feel that plagues the Christian pop/rock industry. But that doesn’t save this effort from being generic about 25% of the time.

Another plus is that you can get this album for free (Pay What You Want) right here: http://thecolourful.bandcamp.com/album/hearts-and-citadels-album

3/5 Stars: Good “Christian” sweet rock with a nice and usually upbeat message. Great first album with a few flaws in it but if you can look beyond those you’ll enjoy this album immensely. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this band and you should too.

Until next time Keep rockin’ and God Bless!

Brian Morrissette