If anyone believes rock and roll is dead, they aren’t listening. The electric guitar and its possibilities continues to draw new adherents across multiple generations and while some might cry that there’s nothing new under the sun, those same moaning voices fail to hear how a performer or band might pour new wine into old bottles through the sheer dint of personality alone. The Invisible World hail from the Kansas City, Missouri area, but this isn’t heartland rock they are pushing with their second EP Color / Echo. Instead, The Invisible World’s songwriting balances itself with near perfection between melody, guitar workouts, and clear songwriting ambition. This isn’t a band content with turning out songs full of the same tired tropes and the subtlety of their writing reflects this. The EP’s musical architecture pursues a grand vision with cinematic scope – each of these songs sounds like an emphatic statement.
None more so than the opener. The band audaciously kicks things off with the title cut, an intensely imaginative musical experience that mines familiar reference points for the listener while tackling relatively heady subject matter and demonstrating a willingness to push the musical envelope. Ending with a delicate acoustic section is an unexpected step that serves notice of their bravery. “Bellamy” has a much more straight forward style and quite a bit of hop that the opener lacks. The drumming is solid throughout and the guitars clearly relish playing off such a ferociously dependable backbeat. It’s a much “poppier” vocal here as well and The Invisible World further sweetens the singing with surprisingly melodic harmony vocals. “The Way” steers them back towards the high brow grandiosity of the opening number. The lyrics are rather enigmatic, but it doesn’t stop the band from weaving tremendous atmosphere thanks in no small part to the interplay between vocalist and arrangement. The band has an almost painterly aspect to their songwriting – effects are not achieved instantaneously, but through accumulation instead.
“Joilet” returns The Invisible World to the more commercial slant of songs like “Bellamy”, but relies even more on the vocal to make its deepest impressions. The rhythm section isn’t nearly as predictable here – the tempo writhes and moves in unexpected ways. “Brick by Brick” is another notice that the band is perfectly at home with surprising listeners. This strictly acoustic turn shows off their singer/songwriter chops much better than the album’s other numbers and it is certainly the band’s most intimate moment on an otherwise loud and sometimes raucous affair. The vocal is particularly well suited to the shimmering acoustic guitar work, but it retains just enough grit to give it added weight. The EP’s final song, “Oughta Know”, defies expectations by serving up another uptempo rocker instead of opting for some contrived big statement. One gets the sense that these sort of guitar driven affairs are a natural fit for the band – there’s isn’t a single forced second throughout the song’s entirety. It ends Color / Echo on quite a high.