Colours Run - The Sticks EP

Tim Miller 09/10/2007

Rating: 3.5/5

It says something that Colours Run, whose first demo I reviewed barely a year ago, have already moved on to pastures very new for this follow-up EP. Unsigned or not, standing still is no longer an option for any band, and Colours Run have struck out for a destination firmly beyond the marker set by their demo.

That the band are from Manchester remains evident, but what they do with that melancholy, that ingrained desire to make music that evokes emotion, has expanded toward grander planes. 'Pilot Light', the EP's opener, begins with a solemn organ and sees the vocals flickering over a brooding but substantial accompaniment: forlornly picked guitars melodies and heavy-hearted harmonies. A live recording of the track 'Old' follows, just vocals and acoustic, and it feels somewhat squashed between the opener and title-track 'The Sticks', again a soundly produced, urgent slice of guitar-pop.

From here, though, is where the EP gets ideas, if not above its station, then certainly beyond the expected. Colours Run omit the indie line-up and make use of a wider palette; soft brass comes in over the hushed acoustic guitar and quivering vocal of 'Curiosity', while an expansive string arrangement serves as the main talking point of 'The Snowline', a song simultaneously built around a fragile piano and gentle falsetto. Colours Run appear to move into Coldplay territory at this point; where others would seek to consolidate their position, they move on to try higher things.

This is not to say it is a bad move, however, and certainly 'The Snowline' is as weepy a ballad as The Snowman from all those years ago. Careful not to dispense with their layered harmonies and indie choruses, Colours Run have nevertheless resolved to show they have plans for the future, and The Sticks EP portrays a band full of passion, invention and conviction, just crying out to be given a fair chance.