Narrow Minded: The Colonel’s Men ‘Friends of Mine’ album review

Trevor Whitney

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“Friends of Mine,” released Feb. 1. Courtesy of The Colonel’s Men, the-colonels-men.bandcamp.com.

The Colonel’s Men sounds like the type of band that would prompt you to say “You’ve probably never heard of them” when asked what music is playing at the painfully hip coffee shop you go to for tea.

The Davis band’s debut, “Friends of Mine,” is of course vocally driven, but it’s able to maintain its indie-folky vibe over instrumentals that are actually interesting.

What works

Most impressive is the calculated precision streamlined throughout the album. Well, except the lyrics, but I’ll bring that up in a second. It shouldn’t be like this, but hearing music from young bands that are actually musicians is always refreshing. There’s always that moment where it’s like, “OK — cool, these guys actually give a shit.”

Every song is laid out in a way that each part goes on just long enough before moving on to the next idea. It was clearly designed to keep the listener’s attention and succeeds. I can’t remember how many times I was about press skip only to be won over again before I could.

The track listing is conducive to the album’s flow. The placement of “Lost in My Heart” at — you guessed it — the heart of the album works both literally and figuratively. It’s the song that makes the best use of the band’s tight vocal harmony, the driving force behind the group’s sound. In fact, the best part of the album is near the middle of the track when the first chorus builds emotionally and drops into the perfect violin solo.

Nope

The subtle guitar parts throughout “Daylight Dreamer” are so tight. This track might be the best instrumentally, but It’s probably the worst song vocally. To be subjective, the vocals on this track had the least chemistry and the weakest emotional grip on the album.

Even cleverer writing, especially in the lyrics, would help this album give a lasting impression. The track “You & the Moon” is riddled with these, but the lyric, “Who needs sunshine when I’ve got your smile” is a decent representative of the album’s cliché tendencies.

In fact, all of the song titles are, for lack of a better word — basic. Of course an indie band named its song “Midnight Wonder.” Of course they’re talking excessively about looking at stars and wearing galaxy shawls.

And then there’s this gem: “As she tiptoes to the moon/to dance among the stars/’cause when you’re feeling this high/they can’t see your scars.”

What?

That being said, anybody that’s into indie music or has willingly attended more than one music festival will not regret any time spent listening to this album. Listen and purchase at Bandcamp and follow the band on Facebook.

Trevor Whitney can be reached at [email protected] or @nicegrandmas on Twitter.

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