Originating from the Windy City of Chicago, Secret Colours are set to release the newest version of their psych-pop sound in the form of a double-EP, Positive Distractions Parts I & II, their third and fourth efforts after 2010’s eponymous debut and 2013’s Peach. Having slimmed down to a four-piece from the sextet that graced the previous two releases, the band looks to put together a “leaner, meaner” sound.
Highlights of Part I include “Take it Slow,” a delightfully bouncy psych-pop tune with beautiful flanger-drenched guitars and a catchy bass line that surrounds an uplifting chorus full of angelic harmonies that lead into an uptempo outro that will leave you tapping your foot and singing along, mostly because you’ll have the song stuck in your head for days after you hear it. The fourth track “Monster” is a slight change of pace from the first three songs of the album. A more laid-back acoustic track, the song shows how the band is not a one-trick pony of upbeat pop songs, and can truly work with different dynamics within the band to create different moods and feelings. “Get to the Sun” sounds like what would happen if you locked members of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Sleepy Sun in a studio and had them record a song. It has all the grandiose and space of the former, mixed with the studio production and depth of the latter. “Rotten Summer” closes Part I, which almost sounds like a song The Black Angels would do if they decided to take a “sunnier” approach to their sound.
Part II is a similar affair, understandable since both of these EPs were recorded around the same time and with the same ideas in mind. “Into You” opens up the second part with the upbeat bounce that is found on most of both of the EPs, which is then followed by “I Know What You Want,” which sounds like a song The Beatles could have released in their early years, especially when the vocal harmonies in the chorus kick in. The whole affair is ends with the title track “Positive Distractions,” which starts of with an acoustic guitar reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s “Gallows Pole,” but quickly gets back to the consistent sound that permeates the rest of these two EPs.
Overall, Positive Distractions Parts I & II are collections of enjoyable pop songs that are perfectly suited for a warm summer’s day or night. Though there’s nothing that really jumps out in the sense of innovation, Secret Colours is a band that should be kept on the radar for future releases. (Independent, secretcolours.com) Dave Guennette