It’s no secret that Daryl Palumbo has a fondness for pop music. To see the Glassjaw frontman trade progressive hardcore for neon pop-rock with Head Automatica may has initially been disorienting, but it can’t be argued that he did it well. Color Film represents the next logical step, once again teaming up with Head Automatica’s Richard Penzone for ‘Living Arrangements’, an album that wears its love of synth pop and new wave brightly on its sleeve.
And, the erratic happy hardcore of opener ‘We’d Kill Each Other’ aside, this is clearly the product of two men with a deep affinity for this style. Skittering synths are the dominating instruments, almost taking the source material and throwing some spidery energy into mix; ‘Small Town’ feels like a mashup of AFI and The 1975 in the best way possible, while ‘I Need A Parasite’ almost comes across like a warped version of Duran Duran’s ‘Rio’.
Of course, there’s a bit of that darkness that clashes with the vibrancy though, and even that feels like a nice touch to temper it all, with ‘Crawling In Circles’ and ‘Even If It Did Exist’ seeing Palumbo doing his best Davey Havok impression. There’s a good deal of versatility on offer that keeps ‘Living Arrangements’ compelling, and not falling stagnant after the first few tracks.
And even though Color Film is as clear as a side-project can be, Palumbo and Penzone aren’t resting on their laurels here, and ‘Living Arrangements’ manages to have value beyond a few throwaway listens. Whether it has true longevity remains to be seen, but this is pretty much as strong and consistent as a side-project can get.
‘Living Arrangements’ by Color Film is released on 16th June on Epitaph Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)