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If there’s a thread connecting the three tracks on Color Palette’s latest EP, Pacing Like a Lion, it’s their live sound because, tonally, they’re very different songs.
Every member of the band played their own part for this release, comprised of tracks selected by the D.C. dream-pop band’s new label, Amsterdam-based Enroute Records.
While sonically and substantively the songs take the listener in different directions, the EP, which dropped April 14, still manages to stay true to songwriter and singer Jay Nemeyer’s overarching vision.
“We wanted the songs to contain organic and synthetic elements,” he says. “And that’s something I like to try to achieve with every release—to find that sweet spot, that combination of those two things.”
The title track is the perfect example of that: A cheery pairing of synth and drums leads into Nemeyer’s moody vocals, rather innocently masking the heart-racing chorus to come. A shoegaze influence is evident as Nemeyer’s singing turns more airy, mirroring the anticipation before a concert—the gist of the track.
“I was inspired to write the song because we played a show at Union Stage last July, and our load-in was at 2:30 p.m. and we went on at 9:30 p.m,” he says. “So it was like, OK, we’re going to soundcheck, and then we’re just going to hang out for seven hours.”
Tension builds until the breakdown, a satisfying flood of volume capped with a tremulous guitar, allowing you to finally lose yourself in a fit of head-banging or dancing—whichever you choose.
All three songs on Color Palette’s mini-album contain these atmospheric shifts, and it lets the band show off their range. Nemeyer co-wrote the other two tracks with guitarist Joshua Hunter.
“Lightbulb” feels more amorphous, but the synthy refrain pierces through the haze. The song was written shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision last June to overturn abortion rights, a moment in history Nemeyer witnessed firsthand living on the Hill. “I feel like that decision, in particular, was so infuriating and demoralizing,” he says. “And it was also crystal clear that things are so fucked up.”
The final track, “Home,” recalls indie rocker Soccer Mommy with its slow BPM and sparse instrumentation at the outset. But, again, there’s an atmospheric shift as keyboards start to layer—building on each other. “There are definitely elements of alternative rock in there, which is true to the roots of the demo,” Nemeyer says. “And it’s not something that we’ve necessarily done before.”
Then again, Color Palette have never released an EP this dynamic before either.
Color Palette’s Pacing Like a Lion EP is available on various streaming platforms. colorpalette.bandcamp.com.