Indigo is an odd color, with an inexact definition of just what hue it is. Sometimes it’s rather blue, sometimes it’s pretty much purple. In the context of The Color Spectrum, Indigo falls somewhere between the electrics characteristic of Black, and the simplicity and melody of Blue. So, very literally, Crescenzo’s got it pegged as a darker blue. Good to know. In more concrete terms, Indigo is rather reminiscent of As Tall As Lions, albeit with a marked Dear Hunter flair.
“What Time Has Taught Us” is sort of a devious song. It awakens with cooly rippling electronic ambience, and an electric bassline that slowly surfaces. Crescenzo’s vocals enter amidst more violently churning electrics and chirping percussion, but the lyrics are at odds with themselves: “Love, you crawl. It’s all coming back now, but the thing of it is, that it never really was.” Led in by vocal harmonies, the chorus mixes together every sound heard in the track thus far into a wondrous explosion of clashing sounds, not unlike a Glowbug song. The lyrics and instrumentation then run on loop, just like Finnegan’s wake: “—be alive, ‘cos nothing lasts for good, or like you thought it would. Nothing’s as it seems, or what you thought it’d be, alive—” So what has time really taught us, if we are to believe the song’s title? That history is destined to repeat, endlessly, until our song eventually fades to silence? As I said, it’s a devious song that rings out pessimism, but there’s a granule of light in there: “Be alive, ‘cos nothing lasts for good.” Like so many of the songs that have come before this, Crescenzo continues to stress carpe diem. Above all, live. And this theme is carried into “Mandala.”
A mandala is often used to create a sacred space to aid in meditation, and the spare opening minute of “Mandala,” which combines lilting ambience, piano, and heavily filtered vocals, seems to fit the bill. The vocals speak of a man in meditation; he is lost, but not without hope: “I lost my place in the world, it left me behind, now my soul is undone, and my mind is free to roam around.” The song’s “kick” when the instrumentation opens up is subtle, but captivating: enter staccato choral flourishes, a groovy bassline and more pronounced waves of ambience. Crescenzo re-enters near a capella — his vocals still effect-laden — with a barely audible drum beat far in the background. And then, the effects are shed in favor of a full-bodied, dulcet delivery complimented by the earlier choral flourishes. The song builds as he sings “The veil can be lifted, and the well will overflow,” and hits its emotional fever pitch at “You’ve been here before.” The triumphant tone carries itself through the resolution: “You’ve seen it all, but your conscience won’t recall. And your eyes are barely wide enough to recognize what your heart keeps giving up. And someday it might win, if your mind’s giving in. Just try and love yourself, or do your best ‘til then.” It’s a similar speaker to “Tripping in Triplets” and “Trapdoor,” a man embroiled and discouraged, but ultimately aware that the only solution is to keep living, to keep pushing onward, “Be alive.”
“Progress” is another brooding, heavily-electronic song. And it’s another song revolving around hope. The scene is set: someone in love, petitioning the object of their desire, who is regrettably indifferent. “It’s such a passive motion, you cast a careless hand to the air. Give me something to hope for.” And the lover pines, “And the only thing that brings me back is love.” The second verse is the final plea: “Your mind is open but your mouth stays closed, enough to keep painful words from falling out. With every ounce of passion, I speak ‘til my lungs both billow out: I’ll give you something to hope for.” The longing is tangible, but there is no resolution; the song just rings out, repeating, “And the only thing that brings me back is love.” You can’t call this progress, but the lover is pressing on in the face of adversity, hoping desperately for his love. It’s another example of the songs of Indigo being at odds with themselves, and it’s a greater example of the songs of The Color Spectrum never offering real resolution. We’ll just have to listen on, and hope, as the speakers in Crescenzo’s lyrics seem to do.
“Therma” is, very simply, a beautiful and placid instrumental track. Lots of effect-laden electrics. It’s a pleasant, unburdened listen, especially after the emotional heaviness of the previous three tracks.
And that is Indigo, whose placid soundscapes belie conflicted and embattled lyrics. Having made our way through 7/9 of The Color Spectrum, though, its inherent themes are slowly coming to the surface, the most important of which are to live, to hope, and to love, against all odds.
Next up is Violet.