The Colors - Max Townsley and Drew Erickson by Harriet Kaplan
The Colors featuring Denton, TX natives Max Townsley and Drew Erickson have managed to carve out a contemporary pop sound that is timeless, varied and sophisticated. The memorable, poignant, slice-of-life songs are sometimes ironic and funny. Drawing on influences like Brian Wilson, The Beatles and Todd Rundgren as a stylistic template for songwriting and arrangements, Townsley and Erickson have clearly learned well from their iconic masters writing material that at once feels familiar but is highly original. That is significant characteristic makes this duo stand out right away.
Photo credit: Henry Diltz
The songs never feel belabored or forced. There is a remarkable ease about the numbers that makes it seem as if the process of creating the songs was effortless. This was evident at recent show at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, CA. From all outward appearances, the performance was low key and very natural but there a was larger internal complexity on display and at work when it came to the crafting of the material.
That aspect is a part of the duo's brilliance which seemed obvious as the set wore on. There were so many intricate and detailed touches that enhanced the music and elevated it in addition to the delicate and more nuanced flourishes provided by backing vocalist Erickson on keyboards and piano. Townsley further complimented the sound on lead vocals and guitar.
Twelve great songs were performed from their soon-to-be debut release album on Warner Bros. Those numbers included standouts like "Texas Time" "Still Love Lindsay," "More Than A Song Can Say," and the especially bittersweet and moving number, "A Good Friend Is Hard To Find." The latter illustrates the willingness to let one's guard down, admit mistakes and express regrets and show one's vulnerable and sensitive side. On two knockout covers, Townsley and Erickson put their own individual stamp on the material versus engaging in a reverential or slavish re-creation of Warren Zevon's "Carmelita" and Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas."