The Color Pharmacy is a three-piece band from Minneapolis and consists of Jake Dilley, Dan Larsen and Jake Quam. This self-titled release is the indie rock group’s second studio album, following 2011’s “Texatonka.”
The 10-track album is what I would describe as guitar-based, catchy, rock-esque fun.
It would be especially fantastic for driving on back roads on a sunny day when you’re in a “thinking too much about life” mood. I could also see most of the songs being great for movie montages, but in the least cheesy way possible.
There was absolutely nothing I disliked about it. I’m not sure, however, that it would immediately catch my attention if I happened to hear it somewhere. I found I wasn’t all that impressed on first listen, but after several days of playing it as background music, songs stuck in my head, lyrics popped out at me and I liked it considerably better.
I had trouble listening to the entire album, but not in a bad way. It was only because I got hung up on the fifth track, titled “Five.” The song is sort of a comically sad twist on a relationship that’s not going well. Dilley laments the way things are going and how he’s not the person he should have been. But, as he says, “I wish I knew you when I was 5,” because he, and life, were so much more simple then, and maybe he and his romantic partner would have been better too.
Lines like “I wasn’t invited to your Ninja Turtle birthday party” make me laugh, but the song overall is actually pretty sad. I enjoyed the conflict of emotions there, and after listening to just that song probably 16 times in a row, I can definitively say it was my favorite from the album.
My other favorite was “The Doses,” another sad track near the end of the album. The sparse instrumentation and vocal harmonies gave the whole song a feeling of melancholy, even without really knowing what it was about. I thought the most thought provoking line was, “I’ve been in photographs with folks I’ll never see again.” There is also a part of the track in which Dilley sings about the beat of his heart, and the drums become much more prevalent for a few seconds, which is a nice aesthetic touch.
Several points in the album were like that — where everything from the lyrics to the music to the way Dilley’s voice sounded connected and made the song complete.
“The Color Pharmacy” is an album you may think you know, and yet have never heard before. It houses a portfolio of songs with silvery choruses written with beautiful surgical precision,” as described by Youa Vang of City Pages Blog.
I couldn’t help but agree with that analysis. “The Color Pharmacy” is familiar, and yet different. It was enough to get me interested in checking out the band’s other music, and I recommended it to a few friends with more refined tastes. I’m not sure it’s an album for everyone, but I think there is definitely something about this band’s music that intrigues me and makes me think I should keep an eye on these musicians in the future.