Colony House - Only The Lonely

by Alex Mansfield

Two years ago, I had the fortune of interviewing Walk The Moon on the evening I discovered Colony House, their supporting band. The Tennessee based four-piece are mainly an indie rock band, with a dash of pop and sprinkled with some country vocals for a very satisfying and digestible dish. I would liken them to One Direction without the ostentatious-ness and music that is more bearably catchy and far more down to earth. They are perhaps not poppy enough to constitute a feature at Cheesy Tuesdays but again not nearly alternative enough to be divisive between the genres it adopts. It is for this reason that Colony House are not nearly as big as I believe they deserve to be. They act as a half-way-house between pop and rock. Perhaps for most people, they are not distinctive enough in their sound. They are satisfying rather than gripping, though in the polarised and controversial world that we live in today, surely there is nothing wrong with something that is more middle of the road, which may actually unify people from different backgrounds?

However, in 2017, Colony House have developed a very exciting and surprising ingredient within their sophomore effort Only The Lonely. I am truly astonished and surprised by the abundance of jingles and Christmas chords from all the classics from Mariah to Springsteen; it really spices things up. However, this is not a Christmas album; no mention of Christmas, no seasonal reference or anything. This tactic does however increase their upbeat sound even further and is a weird risk that does pay off. Additionally, Only The Lonely features many a surf-y Beach Boys riff, many a U2 anthemic call and many a Black Keys bassline; very fresh experiments I greatly appreciate. Only The Lonely therefore offers a pleasing variance of flavours, mostly without overloading one’s palliate.

Only The Lonely starts incredibly well with Cannot Do This Alone. The chords parallel that in Amber Run’s Heaven and a rockified version of The Lumineers The Gun Song. A communion of harmonising chants and fantastic guitar play, make this one of the strongest songs on the album. 1234, takes a jazzy turn, a real body swinger with its excessive cheese, backed up by those Beach Boy “ooing” in the background. Furthermore this is proceeded by Lonely, a darker song which emphasises its bellowing bass guitar riff, reminiscent of any given dirty, gritty Arctic Monkeys track. Just in the first three songs, you are pushed and pulled in so many different directions, each song is a great listen but perhaps predicting a lack of precise direction for the album itself.

Throughout the album we are entertained by a really fun collection of pop tracks with You & I, You Know It and Was It Me and Follow Me Down. They typify the cheeky and festive attitude of the group, aiding their likeability when performing and on this album. On the other side of the coin we also have Colony’s rocky side with the intensity of 3:20 where the band takes a far louder and chaotic turn.

As with most albums, the end tails off a bit with forgetful, messy songs I Want It All and Remembered For. However, the album does finish off in a sweet tribute to Steven Curtis Chapman, five time Grammy winning pop-gospel performer and the father of Colony’s singer and drummer. This Beautiful Life, is indeed a beautiful acoustic piece, spotlighting just a guitar, piano and vocal harmonies between frontman Caleb Chapman and the backing choir of the band. It’s a powerful execution and proves yet another string to the Colony House eclectic bow. Really it is a song that drives the whole purpose behind the band and indeed the album. Colony House is really family-orientated group. It’s pure and honest, striving to connect, relate with and embrace its listeners in an uplifting manor. For those who do chance upon this band, they will not be disappointed.

Overall, Only The Lonely is a bit of a mixed bag. Lyrically, the album is a little lack lustre, though sonically it is a real treat and adventure, hence the main focus in this review. It provides a nice diversity of examples of how you can manipulate rock music in a way that is honest and welcoming to the ear. Though they veer their music in so many different directions and genres, Colony House never abandon who they are and their inclusive message. This is not a group that vainly shouts from the rooftops and demands to be listened to, but it is a courteous record full of love, compassion and worth a lot more attention. If they won’t demand it, I will!