The Technicolor’s Newest Album Shatters Expectations
Reviewed by: Matthew Lawhead
There are few things as exciting as your favorite band releasing a new album. I first came across The Technicolors midway through my senior year of highschool when “I’ll Love You Someday” roared into my ears. Since then, the Arizona-based rock band has been a constant in my library. In 2019, I even drove 5 hours to see them perform live during the “Technitrax” series of singles. Safe to say, my expectations for Cinema Sublimina were astronomical. Right out of the gates, these expectations were shattered.
Opening track “Super Reflector” serves as a magnificent introduction to the album and to the band as a whole. It starts with guitar and drum building towards a standard high-paced rocker but instead instantly crashes into a much more intentional and suave mood. Charisma drips off of the gritty instrumentation and Brennan Smiley’s instantly recognizable vocals to pull you in. After the first few verses, these strong elements are then paired with a denser soundscape to create a soaring chorus that sets a new bar for instrumental layering from the band. In many ways, this song sounds like an evolution of everything that has represented the Arizona group before. It’s got their penchant for clever writing and solid mixing dialed up to new heights. It serves as a very comfortable beginning to Cinema Sublimina before it reaches its best moments of both quality and freshness, but it’s still a fantastic track in its own right.
I would love to highlight every track on this album, from the spectacular riffs and giddiness of “Nightvisions” to the hauntingly beautiful closer “Mezzanine,” but I think the one track that stands out the most to me is “DJ in Brazil.” It has a completely unique feel to anything else on the album. It starts out significantly softer than most of the surrounding tracks with instrumentation that seems to dance around the vocals as well as a driving beat in the background. Perhaps more than any other song, the momentum of “DJ in Brazil” only continues to snowball, bringing the listener into its melody. It has a simple but catchy chorus to ensure that it will play through your head on repeat, but the true star of the show is the instrumental break that comes in the final minute. The soundscape in this portion is incredibly dense as it builds into the band’s best guitar solo since their 2015 single “Tonight You Are Mine.” The new track actually shares a lot of the fantastic elements of the fan favorite, but with even more energy.
In 2019, The Technicolors appeared to shift their focus towards releasing singles on an interval basis as opposed to an album structure. While I was happy to get more music, I was slightly disappointed, as I am definitely an album-oriented listener. At the end of the day, albums are an intensely personal experience and I find them to be a great art form for seeing the capabilities a band has. I am glad that I got to hear another album from the Technicolors as it truly provided an unparalleled listening experience. Cinema Sublimina sees my favorite band turning out what I believe is a new peak for them in songwriting, sonic richness, and artistic intent. I won’t be turning it off any time soon.