After twenty years of exploring the comic book universe of The Amory Wars, Coheed and Cambria take a departure from frontman and writer Claudio Sanchez’s sci-fi driven concept. Their eighth album, The Color Before The Sun, breaks away from the story line to deliver ten mellow pop-rock tracks. Yet if not for standouts “The Audience” and “Atlas” the album would easily fall short and become dull. The latest installment to the group’s discography fades to background noise as the lack of uniqueness within each track creates a merely average album.
Power pop track, “Island” first sets the scene with a cheery opening riff and bass thump; this transitions into the alternative rock “Eraser.” One of the two heavier pieces of the ten, the chorus delves into lyrics of trying to figure out one’s identity with, “I don’t think this me is who I am.” A crushing instrumental bridge brings the track back to life before it becomes monotonous, however, others are not as lucky. “Here To Mars” proves to be an uninspired love song without any noteworthy elements to redeem the tune.
Most similar to Coheed’s previous progressive rock prowess is “The Audience.” Taking a theatrical stance, the refrain is punctuated with taps of a tambourine. The quick dynamical changes from confident chant to a soft whisper to an unrelenting screech prevents “The Audience” from becoming lost in the background. Whilst arguably the least favorable track “Young Love” lacks complexity musically and lyrically: perhaps symbolic irony for how one would think that love is simple, the attempt is results in a poor outcome.
The emotionally charged “Atlas,” written for Sanchez’s son of the same name, grabs attention as the most personal track of the Coheed’s release. The sentimental lyrics “That you’re the weight of his anchor/ The love that is guiding him home” truly convey the frontman’s affection for his family. In 2014 an acoustic version of “Atlas” appeared on the band’s YouTube channel: in comparison, the studio version does lose tenderness with the addition of the unneeded electrics and drums.
The Color Before The Sun has an equal share of both positives and negatives, resulting in a lukewarm culmination. Having been the first non-conceptual album from Coheed and Cambria, this may be due to a lack of preset direction. With one trial now under their belts, the next release is sure to be improved.