No Second Troy, Colors

The first time I heard No Second Troy with the shiny new mp3’s from the guys and gals at Green Light Go, I thought I wasn’t hearing the fire in the music. Soon I realized I had listened to the tracks out of order, and that the crackling was under a surface scratched. More importantly, what the Washington DC quintet achieve on their 2010 release, ‘Colors,’ is completely different than what anyone was trying to hear–and it wouldn’t be the first time the industry’s been knocked on their butts by some looming indie up-and-comers. The band has previously released two records with ‘Fall’ in 2004, and ‘Narcotic’ in 2006, but it might be 2010’s Colors to see them truly break out.

A rising force shakes off the cobwebs in the first track, ‘Grounded,’ and the band’s tone of positive determination carves a defined rift between the sink of staleness and the saving grace of hope. This surprises initially, as their foremost comparison is to mopey but dazzling piano rockers The Fray. Just in time for Spring too, No Second Troy is, as what you may mistakenly hear in Colors is the sort of melancholy Winter folk for spinning in cloudier seasons. The guitars, piano, and gentle steadiness of the rhythm prove otherwise though, as the positive tinge in the music is something of a band with less submissive merit.

Vocalist Jeff Wharen sings in a way that’s soft but with feet planted, which is another of the welcomed surprises, found on tracks like ‘Wake Up’ and ‘Grounded.’ The singing style melds with the way the album was recorded, as all instruments do, because the sound is aimfully down-to-Earth and naturalistic. It’s not a sound so simple in the flannel-and-acoustic melodic sense of folkier genres, but in it’s unique style of album production. The peppered 15- and 60-second tracks at the front, middle and end of the album are ethereal, ambient noises, or “You’re not recording this are you?” musical challenges and conversations between the guys in the studio. Live-sounding tracks like ‘Golden Age’ use natural reverb and harmonies to make solo acoustic tracks very impresive. In the end, a hardwood-floor and men-with-a-message feel is heartily achieved by way of spared production and musicians confident in the sound they already have.

The feel of the record is an unassuming stage performance in a small coffee shop or day-time bar. It’s sunny and green out, but we’re inside. Attendance wouldn’t be too shabby either in this supposed situation, as the band’s brand of calm energy is something a lot of people would stick around for. ‘Colors’ is a great title for the experience, as the encouraged mood seems to be of vibrance and faith. Much of the tracks do come to relax into splayed out introspection like in the final song ‘The Fountain,’ but always with a steady sway or jumpy beat, and never is there a moment allowed to let your chin down. This album isn’t a pep talk, it’s a sunrise, and No Second Troy know how to capture those rays on disc while proving honed musical instincts and clear ideas brought to ‘Color’-ful fruition.

No Second Troy’s ‘Colors’ has been out since the end of April, so SKOPE out the scene for yourself on the band’s MySpace,, iTunes, Amazon, and in finer record shops everywhere.

By: Sean Flynn

[Rating: 4/5]

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