Album review: Colony House’s ‘Only the Lonely’

Culture Music

Tennessee rockers put new spin on Southern twang

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Guitar-driven indie-rock music from a quartet of Tennessee rockers might be exactly what the world needs right now.

Only the Lonely, the 2017 sophomore album of the band Colony House, is the perfect sequel to When I Was Younger that skyrocketed the band to success. With a mixture of dark, low-bellied acoustics and lighter and brighter clap-tunes, this 44-minute album does the job of both pleasing current fans and attracting many newbies to their music.

Only the Lonely is a cornucopia of sounds. There’s soft, acoustically-built tracks with a mellow background, like “Where Your Father’s Been,” where quiet harmonies give strength and significance to the spoken melody. Then there’s the snare-heavy, bouncy beats of “You Know it” and “I Want It All,”  all-encompassing synth in “Follow Me Down,” and striking guitar work in “1234.”

But the clear highlight of the album is the track behind the title: “Lonely.” This LP defining track  displays guttural, earthy sounds that emulate the twang and charm of the authentic South.

The album tells the story of a journey, and discusses the highs and lows of each stage from start to finish. The inspirational lyrics that tell this story are paired with strong musical harmonies that continue to engage listeners all over the world, even two years after its release. Colony House expertly uses variation in key to reflect the variation in mood. This is noticeable with the most popular track off the album, “You & I,” where the stunning, climactic bridge is a testament to the vocal power of the group. “This Beautiful Life,” meanwhile, is the album’s philosophical closing track that gives the entire record a smooth, rounded, thematic finish.

An interesting element of the album is the 35 second clip of synth-like audio titled “This Road” that is placed right in the middle of the track listing. The purpose of this audio snippet is unclear, although it’s similar to one titled “When I Was Younger” that appeared on their previous album.

Only the Lonely does not fall short in song-writing either. Caleb Chapman undoubtedly has a way with words, crafting sequences driven by powerful themes of connection, reflection, and support to bolster the story their music tells. Repetition and rhyme are used poetically to create songs that are relatable and impactful.

Colony House is not just another Southern band — all members clearly have an aptitude for blending the smooth baritone of their voices with soul-pleasing chord progressions and funky rhythm. Only the Lonely shows why the band continues to deserve a place in the spotlight, and why fans should be excited for what’s to come.