Ivory was a great idea in theory. Colours, a pop-EDM duo signed to Victory Records, released the album on February 25th—their first release since 2013’s Skin and Bones EP. The LP takes its cue from synthpop and the global dominance of electronic music, melding the qualities of groups like Big Data and Pacifica into dreamy, mellow power ballads.
The problem is that Colours takes that good idea—the smoldering, exquisite, melancholy ballad—and drags it out into 11 similar songs. Ivory is formulaic. The album certainly has moments of beauty; that’s one thing Colours does with skill. “Part of You”, one of the last tracks on Ivory, is also one of the most memorable. It’s sweet without being saccharine, and the lyrics are surprisingly heartfelt: “We go to the edge of the world/ The air leaves the room at any thought of you/ It’s all part of you”. It navigates love-song territory without getting lost in cheesiness.
“Alone”, the closer, is an equal match to “Part of You” in terms of beauty. But like many of the songs on Ivory, it seems to build and build and then not hit quite hard enough on the drop into the chorus. It gives the whole song a sort of tentative feeling, like the band is unsure of where to go musically. In fact, most of the choruses on the LP could soar higher, reach for more, and take Ivory to the next level. Instead, it settles for mediocrity, and what could be a moving, dramatic track becomes anticlimactic.
It would have been nice if they’d thrown in a couple danceable tracks or switched it up a bit. The duo comes closest on “Monster”, one of the best tracks on the album by far. It’s rhythmic, pulsating, and Kyle Tamo’s falsetto mingles with it pleasantly. “Monster” sounds like something The Weeknd could have released; it has the same polished yet seductive tone and is definitely a standout track.
Unfortunately, most of Ivory is two-dimensional. It’s nice to listen to, say, in the car on a relaxing summer afternoon, and there are some great moments, but overall it’s nothing special. Colours has a talent for synthpop ballads, but if they want to attract a following in the overcrowded world of electronic music they’ll need more than one type of song. The band is worth keeping an eye on, though; hopefully they’ll learn from Ivory and only get better from here on out.
Pop-EDM | Victory Records