Cathartic indie/rock from Cheltenham four-piece.
Cheltenham four-piece Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun first achieved a degree of success and recognition back in 2012 with the release of debut album ‘Death’. Nationwide airplay and decent support gigs with the likes of Mumford & Sons followed but it is only now, having re-signed for Xtra Mile Recordings, that the band has released any new music.
New album ‘Colour’ focuses on prominent occurrences in Lockey’s life during that hiatus tackling the thoughts and feelings that the frontman found himself most at war with. Dealing with the premature end of a marriage, rediscovering himself as an individual and finding ways through are all themes that bubble under the record’s surface.
Originally seeing themselves as a folk/punk band the new album sits firmly within indie/rock territory. Lockey explains, “Whilst lyrically heavy, we wanted to shift the focus and lean into our biggest choruses, letting them develop organically.” The man is not wrong. The album is all about big, bold guitars, rousing vocals and anthemic choruses.
Lockey has used the songwriting process as a cathartic response to the trauma going on in his life with songs veering from the reflective to the optimistic look forward. In that spirit opening track ‘Reno’ is all about fresh starts and the possibilities of something positive emerging from the wreckage of a troubled past. Musically it sets the tone for what is to come; Lockey’s vocals, initially restrained within the verses alongside hooky guitar riffs and an inexorable build to a big guitar wall of sound once the chorus hits.
This is a recipe that clearly works for the band and is very much in line with Lockey’s ambitions for the album, but it can make the tracks sound rather formulaic and unremarkable at times. Title track ‘Colour’ retains this formula but stands above as the most distinctive and radio-friendly song on the album while ‘Shame’ is a ballad that sees the only real shift in tone and pace with its subdued vocals and melancholic piano.
‘Colour’ will appeal to many and is undoubtedly a rousing and uplifting slice of indie/rock but unfortunately it’s difficult to see it gaining much traction within the Americana community.