Band: Standing In Colour
Album: Singularity (July 2016)
Genre: Instrumental / Progressive / Rock
City: Wichita, Ks
Standout track(s): ALL OF IT
Seen live: no
First of all the artwork for this band is perfect. As I listen to the album I am reminded of some other Progressive bands I listen to such as Dream Theater’s album “Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence” (disc 2), Animals As Leaders’ self-titled album, Redemption’s album “Snowfall on Judgment Day”. The artwork is dark and complex. The picture of the D20, or 20 sided dice implies multiple outcomes and statistical probability. It helps visualize the complexities of progressive music with unusual time signatures and changes, all while avoiding the typical intro/verse/chorus song writing schematic.
The intro song “The Swarm” is a true into song. You can tell that right off the bat, this album was written to be listened like a musical score. The intro section of “The Swarm” doesn’t even end until 2:50. (That is longer than most entire Green Day songs!) There is no “single track” but a collective of musical sections. It’s better to think of the entire album as 1 long song. As you listen to the album in its entirety, it is supposed to tell you a story. No good story should be rushed. But with no lyrics, and the only words to read are song titles, it leaves the listener to visualize the story for themselves. That is why artwork for Instrumental bands are so vitally important. It defines the setting for the listener to visualize. It can even help set the mood. A lot of instrumental bands do not get very popular because of this level of mental stimulation required to truly appreciate their music adequately. The general masses of popular music listeners use music to relax and “turn-off” their brain. Instrumental music is the opposite. It is meant to stimulate your mind and creativity. This type of music is best enjoyed with an open and active mind. I’m sure it is great for background party music. I bet it would be great to study with. But I’d rather just sit down and listen, with no distractions. Let the story unfold in your mind’s eye.
In that sense it is very similar to Coheed and Cambria, because their albums actually do tell a story.
Even though the recording was done by the band themselves, I think that is has been done relatively well. The guitar has a real think / full sound. The ambiance is a nice touch. I’m not quite sure if its some kind of synth or keyboard, or maybe an effect of the bass. The lead guitar parts come in crisp and clear. Even though all the songs lack vocals, it places more focus on the leads. Something that I noticed that I liked, is that there is no lead guitar part that appears to be recycled from some songs to fit others. I’ve noticed some bands that do that from time to time. Im not saying that is a bad thing, however, it show the creative genius of the guitarist. There is no sign or writers block. There is also a surprising variety of guitar tone expressed that keeps all the songs from feeling too repetitive. (significantly more difficult for instrumental music) The drums seem well balanced.
Let’s talk about the bass for a second. The bassist seems to take more of a supportive role with this band. That is understandable as that is traditionally the role of the bass. With a guitarist as skilled as this one, it is easy to get out-shinned. The bassist uses a wide range and various techniques. But it is my opinion that the tone was a bit too lacking. The sound seems a bit too rounded and muffled. I would have preferred it to be more crisp and bright. But tracking bass is difficult. It needs to be distinguished from the kick drum, but it also should not conflict or out shine the guitar. It might be for the best, actually. Perhaps it was necessary when recording to find the middle ground. Anything brighter or clearer would take away from the leads. With no vocals, the leads are the central focus. But as a bassist, that is what I am programmed to listen to first.