A four piece hailing from the Kansas City, Missouri area, The Invisible World are an alternative rock outfit whose second EP, Color / Echo, is certain to catapult them to a higher rung of visibility. The six songs on their latest release are strong on muscular guitar work, but they are likewise condensed musical experiences, none running over four minutes in length, and bristle with energy and surprising melodic strengths. This is a band who amply understands dynamics and the potential in crossing light and shadow – each of the cuts on Color / Echo juxtapose their musical elements in often quite compelling ways.
The title song is an impressively cinematic achievement and certainly seems much larger than its comparatively modest running time suggests. The guitars are slashing from the outset, whipping up big power chorded crescendos, and the vocals veer between the rugged lead and layered, yet understated, harmony parts. The Invisible World show a penchant for the unexpected by ending the track with an eloquent acoustic coda. “Bellamy” builds up from the acoustic guitar into a brisk shuffle with a breezy rock and roll spirit. This is much more of a vocal showcase than the opener and more conventionally presented, but the same individualism powering the title song comes through here as well. One of the EP’s unquestioned high points, “The Way”, has methodical pacing and a steadily growing sense of power as it clangs and crashes closer to its inevitable conclusion. The vocal melody, in particular, contrasts powerfully with the muscular drumming and compositionally minded guitar work. Despite the heavy influence that the six string wields over these songs, The Invisible World eschews any of the customary guitar heroics typically blighting indie alternative rock releases.
“Joliet” is an uptempo guitar rave-up with a similar feel to the earlier “Bellamy”. It’s a little more chaotic here, the backbeat a little more herky jerky, but the same fleet footed energy influencing the earlier song is present in full effect here. The EP’s penultimate track, “Brick by Brick”, takes a full on turn into acoustic singer/songwriter territory. The song’s deceptively simple lyric masks deeper meanings and the sensitive phrasing of the vocal perfectly complements the backing track. “Oughta Know” closes Color / Echo on a high octane note. Once again, The Invisible World shows themselves clearly capable of distinguishing themselves vocally and musically. The vocal melody streaks like quicksilver over the brawling guitars and authoritative rhythm section, but the song’s strongest quality is, undoubtedly, its focus. Throughout this EP, The Invisible World adopt artistic ethos that preaching getting in, getting out, and never risking self indulgence. The song’s brisk attack brings this EP to a memorable close.
This is alternative rock embracing the past while never being completely beholden to it. The Invisible World is clearly working within a tradition, but each of their songs is stamped with the mark of an idiosyncratic personality. There’s grand artistic unity here – each of the songs stands on its own, yet the EP hangs together nicely as a fully rounded musical work. One of the most bracing indie rock releases of 2016.
9 out of 10 stars.