Review by Shannon Shumaker
Ask any fan of The Color Morale what their favorite thing about the band is, and their answer will likely include their vulnerable and universally relatable lyricism. Although sonically, things have changed for the band with their fifth full-length, Desolate Divine, their message remains the same. These eleven tracks are The Color Morale at their best lyrically and sonically.
Starting things out on an aggressive and dark note is “Lonesome Soul,” but where the instrumentals are a bit more dissonant, vocally, things are very melodic and emotional right off the bat, creating a beautiful contrast. And lyrically, things begin on a strong foot as well, as Garret Rapp sings, “This is the end of what we used to know,” signifying a new chapter for both himself and The Color Morale. Once “Clip Paper Wings” comes in, this new direction that the band has taken is very apparent. Not only is the song more uplifting in lines like “You can’t be afraid to make mistakes,” but the orchestral elements in the track make it feel larger than life. There are also some unclean vocals thrown in a little bit later, as if to remind listeners that they haven’t forgotten where they came from. Lyrically, the following song, “Walls” follows the same themes of “Clip Paper Wings,” telling a story of being afraid to let people in or show vulnerability.
Desolate Divine isn’t without a few songs that will surprise you, either. Vocally, “Version Of Me” is much more groovy and stands apart from the songs that come before it, making it one of the stronger tracks on the album. Just when Desolate Divine threatens to become boring or fall into similar songwriting patterns, “Version Of Me” really shakes things up. Not only does it host some very melodic and poppy clean vocals, but it also changes pace in the blink of eye, offering some more aggressive unclean moments as well. “Misery Hates Company” is strong for similar reasons, with catchy vocal melodies that flow with ease over ever-changing guitar work.
Desolate Divine continues to deliver even as it winds down, too. “Perfect Strangers” ties the album together well, hosting that same big, orchestral feeling as “Clip Paper Wings.” Then comes “Broken Vessel,” which will catch your attention right away due to its very different sound compared to the rest of the album. “Broken Vessel” is carried by heavy bass and drums coupled with hushed vocals, and the change of pace is welcomed, shaking things up again right before “Keep me In My Body” then provides listeners with a huge, emotional closer.
The great thing about The Color Morale is how relatable and vulnerable their music is. Despite how personal these songs may be to the band, their lyrical content has always been universal, and that can easily be said about Desolate Divine, as well. Driving this message home is the album’s final line, which repeats like a mantra - “It’s okay to feel this way.” As the final song fades out, it’s impossible to feel alone regardless of any internal struggles you may be going through.
Listen to "Version Of Me" or "Clip Paper Wings"
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