Our plight is a search for the simple. We are constantly looking to make life and its obstacles simple. So the pursuit of the simple is good. However, if one is to call another simple-minded, it is indeed derogatory. How can simple be both good and bad and how does this relate to The Color Wheels new self-titled album?
The goodness or badness of simplicity is determined by roughly one thing; a leap of the imagination. Take Picasso’s Bull’s Head sculpture for example. It looks like a bull’s head but it is only a bike seat and a handle bar – the work is appreciated for its leap of the imagination or cleverness. On the flip side, we have The Color Wheels album, The Color Wheels, which is indeed simple yet it lacks any sense of cleverness. The album’s straight-forwardness and unilateral sound is without a hook that gives simple albums relevance to the world.
Vocalist, guitarist and husband-half of the band, Jon Sebastian, sings in the vein of emo-pop that is synonymous with Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessional paired with the occasional nebbishness of Rivers Cuomo. Accompanying Sebastian’s mimicked vocal style is his failed lyrical attempts to be coy and ironic which come across as disposable and Disney-esque, “Green means go and no means no… no one can know just how fast this thing can go,” or from the opening track, “Take my love, and give it a shove, into your heart-hole.” Additionally, this same Disney-esque paradigm is prevalent in the album’s goopity goppity style of pop music. If you need a point of reference, watch the Disney channel weekdays at 10 and 11am – the pop sensibilities of the Color Wheels are the same as Imagination Movers and the Doodle Bops.
The Color Wheels is a fine effort at making a straight-forward gummy pop record. Technique-wise, the potential is there with the exception of the drums seeing how the standout song is the last and it uses a drum machine. With a little or maybe a lot more imagination, The Color Wheels could establish themselves as a foothold in the bubblegum pop genre. Maybe the band can transition from simple-minded to simple-clever.