The debut album of the Austin-based trio Ringo Deathstarr feels a lot like a time-lapse video from the point of view of a person driving a car. It’s moving faster than you can imagine, but at the same time, it’s weighed down by something dense forcing it to stay in one place. This paradox makes for an interesting indie-pop/lo-fi contrast that’s addressed in every distortion-soaked, echoing track.
Distortion is the leading force of Colour Trip, seeing as the electric guitar parts in its songs are sometimes fuzzed out beyond recognition. The bass doesn’t escape the effect, being distorted right along with the guitar. Added to the madness of sound are loops running forward and backward, synth noises that are just as heavy as the real instruments themselves and percussion that’s forceful and manages to escape the special effects.
The vocals of Elliott Frazier and Alex Gehring are affected in the album’s production, but this is done in a way that fits with the rest of the music. If the voices were to remain untouched, they would seem out of place and wouldn’t mesh as they do with the distortion of the instrumentation. Gehring’s higher-pitched vocals often act as another instrument, whether she’s singing somewhat incoherent lyrics or backing Frazier’s lower-range vocals with oohs or aahs. Considering the differences in the two singers’ ranges, a lot of space is created on each track, with the middle only being filled by an occasional guitar standing out among the fuzz.
Though the band cites influences in indie bands from the ’80s, the album also follows a lot of musical progressions found in the alternative rock and pop of the ’90s, but with a much more uplifting twist. Opening track “Imagine Hearts” has a chorus that feels like it took a cue from Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill but has an overall Smiths-like sound. “Kaleidoscope” also follows suit of an ’80s vibe with an opening guitar progression that sounds like the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.” Despite its homage to its predecessors, the album holds its own and shows signs of Ringo Deathstarr developing its own signature sound.