Courrier – Cathedrals of Color

Courrier have a fantastic sound that is full of positivity and energy. It’s the kind of optimistic pop music that can power a listener through a rough day. More importantly, it’s music that I can’t wait to play this summer as loud as my speakers can handle. It’s driving, celebrating, LIVING music. Seriously, it’s a great party and celebration album with a pop rock flavor, mixing synthesizers, guitars, and incredible vocals. This 16 song album includes five acoustic songs at the end, which are just as infectiously enjoyable as the 11 that precede them. Give them a shot.

“I know you can’t trust yourself with an inch of rope.” The lyric in the opening song makes us a little uncomfortable, but the hand-clap-inducing power chorus keeps us listening. The song is solid. It leads us into a piano-power pop song for track two, “Your Eyes Shine in the Darkness,” a phenomenal optimistic pop song that has us wanting to sing from the rooftops. The layered drums and guitars fuel an energy I haven’t heard since 30 Seconds to Mars. It’s the kind of inspirational music that’s sure to find a happy home on numerous “running lists” on ipods across the globe. Oh and the message… “your eyes shine in the darkness” is about hope found in friend (or lover?) that has the ability to bring light into a dark time of life. What a good thing to sing about.

“Love is Fire” starts with a strumming acoustic guitar and lead vocals, but in the background there’s a filling synth followed by a driving bass drum. Soon the rest of the guitars and vocals fill the rest of sound for a powerful, almost transcendent feeling. It propels the listener to another level, feeling lighter in a sense. It’s a weird sensation. The music overall is so well produced that despite its full sound, it all seems to fit. “Love is a fire and it’s burning me down. Can you hear my heart now? Love is a fire and it’s burning me down.” Initially the words sung solo seem like a personal mantra, perhaps of romantic love, but as the rest of the chorus joins the lead, there’s a collective sense to the song. “Love is a fire!” becomes a consuming rallying cry. Again, this is a worthy message to spread.

“The City at Night” has an immediate inspiring sound to it. It makes reference to the concept of “cathedrals of color” and several references to, well, the city at night. The repetitive “find my way” is punctuated with a backing chorus that makes the song feel almost anthemic. The lead vocals, again, are powerful and seem to capture a tone of adventure. It is a song that makes the listener want to be active. Let’s get out there and do something.

The soft beginning to “The Light in the Tunnel” is subtle and comforting. It’s amazing how a piano does not have a “genre,” but how the keys are played can make such a difference. This song has an acoustic pop flavor almost immediately. When the full band comes in, they help to illustrate the lyrical image of being surrounded. This song focuses on an emotional moment of torment, but yet has a silver lining of sorts, “if we ever work out… if you ever fall down…” There’s a glimmer of hope in what seems to be a split. It will be a favorite of many recent breakups.

“Stained Glass Window” is by far my favorite song on the album, but I can’t totally put my finger on why that’s the case. It has a late 90s feeling from the beginning. Then when the kickdrum enters and the lyric makes a passing reference to “Amazing Grace,” with the words, “and grace my fears relieved,” I immediately saw the image of the church and the song. I don’t know if ears can “twinkle” the way that eyes do, but I had some sort of aural tingling sensation and decided I love this song. The guitars, again, create an atmosphere of levity that helps make the words penetrate even deeper. “Every eye is a window pane.” The combination of lyrical symbolism and overall sound that I can enjoy… just makes it a “next level” good song.

“These walls… take them down…” is the main lyric to an intriguing song “These Walls.” The song holds the power and promise of a generational anthem. I can’t help but wonder if it’s about social justice. Ultimately the lyrics seem to be about personal love and desiring to take down the “walls” that prevent us from loving someone. But, yet, the sonic structure could mean so many other things. Maybe it could be taken to mean hatred or prejudice in a larger sense. Sorry to tell the band what their song should mean (because it’s all you guys), but I feel like the song holds something more than the “walls” of one relationship. For what it’s worth…

The title track, “Cathedrals of Color” is an important song. That might seem like a trite compliment, but it really is. It really captures the heart of the band. The lyrics take us through a geographical move to Paris, “in need of some hope.” The lyrics are crystal clear and the drum beat drives us through the song. The harmonies on the main melody makes it feel like a comfortable rock song. But here’s where it gets important; the song emphasizes the value of time. “I don’t wanna waste my time. I don’t wanna waste my life.” It goes on to discuss “cathedrals of color in a world of black and white.” YES! What an inspiring perspective. “Cathedrals of color brought me back to life.”

The album ends with a track called, “Hospital World,” which brings in some delightful strings that compliment the lead piano quite well. The overall sound is sweet and cozy, just like we want an album to end. It’s a song about the health industry as it influences our daily lives… from chemical addictions to coping with the doldrums of life. It’s about physical and mental healthy. But fundamentally it’s about bridging the gap and living life with people. It’s beautiful in an overwhelming, positive, awesome way.

This is an album that should be much more successful than it will be. These musicians are talented. The songs have meaning and importance. This is a band that I’d love to see plastered all over the pop music stations and television talk show circuit. They have a message that goes beyond simple emotion. But what they’ve managed to capture in this album is, in a word, inspiration. I feel like I’ve written it a dozen times (and only deleted it half as many), but it has the intangible quality of encouraging the listener to be active in a world full of brokenness. Courrier has given us a gift. What will we do with it?



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