steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
info opinion

Jonathan Donaldson and the Color Forms

"Beyond Blue Bells" CD

Traveling Talons

Genres: indie pop

Jan 26 - Feb 1 2004

Jonathan Donaldson and the Color Forms specialize in complex, layered pop music and that's exactly what you can expect from Beyond Blue Bells, their fun-packed debut album.  That is, if you find lush guitars, plodding rhythms, and soft pop "fun-packed."

Well.  Beyond Blue Bells is, actually, a very accomplished and enjoyable album.  It isn't guaranteed to be everyone's cup of tea, and there certainly is a chance it may not be your cup of tea, but that's how the world works, isn't it?  Let's look at the facts.

Fact #1: Many of Beyond Blue Bells' songs sound as if they are comprised of a bunch of other songs played together simultaneously.  Good thing or bad thing?  Depends on your frame of reference.  Just be assured that it doesn't sound nearly as jarring as you'd think.  In fact it's rather subtle, and I'm somewhat worried that I may be the only one to actually pick up on it.

Fact #2: Beyond Blue Bells will require two, three, or maybe even four listens before you'll start to really enjoy it.  Good thing or bad thing?  This also depends.  Keep in mind some of the best things in life require waiting.

Fact #3: Beyond Blue Bells is a remarkably catchy album.  Good thing or bad thing?  Once again, this depends.  If you like pop music, then chances are it's a good thing.  If you don't, then it probably isn't.  Simple, ain't it?

Fact #4: Donaldson is influenced by bands like Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, XTC, and many other eighties bands like Simple Minds and Morrissey.  Good thing or bad thing?  For the last time, it all depends.  If you like these bands, good; if you don't, bad.

So?  Need I say anymore?  Need I drag this out further?  Need I uselessly patronize you any longer?  You've got the facts, you make the choice.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the band, released 2002]