“Colours” EP by Open Arms

Birmingham-based indie-pop trio – Open Arms – have caught our attention with this superb 6-song “Colours” EP which, we’re sure you’ll agree after listening, is an impressive compilation of well-polished, memorable pop-rock songs that could be described as Queen-meets-The 1975 due to the way the band create well-refined songs with immaculate production quality whilst utilising powerful lead vocals and rich harmonies whilst retaining a detectable rock edge.

“Colours” – the opening song and title track of the EP – makes a lasting impression whilst setting the scene for what is to come: electronic elements, layered vocals, and arena-sized drums inform the listener immediately that they’re in for a sonically-anthemic treat. After the atmosphere-setting introduction, Open Arms launch into a confident pop-rock song titled “Wilderness”; this song has a dark edge and swagger to it that would sound at home on ‘AM’ by Arctic Monkeys and is bound to be a fan favourite both live and on record.

Reaching the third song on the EP, Open Arms are, at this point, well in their stride and deliver a particular gem titled “Other Side of Life” which, with its jangly guitar parts, utilises indie-funk elements that are utterly delicious and bring to mind the similarly tasteful sound of Leeds-based band Citrus Heights. Furthermore, Ben Farmer’s vocal performance, and lyrics, have a real Queen & Michael Jackson crossover style: Ben’s higher pitched glissando recall elements of Freddie Mercury whilst the instrumentation can be compared to ‘Thriller’-era Jackson. To us, this bears hallmarks of a band capturing a timeless sound and committing it to record, ultimately resulting in a body of work that a prove to be timeless. This jauntier, ’80s-pop sound takes a tasteful turn with the following song “Wherever I Go” which uses the midpoint of the EP to, at first, slow things down before evolving into a synth-soundings drum-driven electro-pop song that demonstrates Open Arms’ range of musical tastes and influences; the band utilise this elements to explore different sonic territory within the EP whilst maintaining an overall sound that can be readily identified as their sonic signature.

The final third of the EP picks up the pace a bit, but still remains more mellow than some of the opening songs. This works incredibly well by providing the listener with a well-developed and mature body of work that cleverly paces the delivery of each song in the EP, ensuring that it’s not merely a compilation of existing songs, but is a meaningful and carefully-crafted collection of songs that align sonically and complement each other musically. Both songs “Falling Down” and “Telescope” do this incredibly well and fit together like puzzle pieces with their synth-heavy sound. In many ways, “Falling Down” sets the stage perfectly “Telescope” by giving the listener a dancey synth-pop style song before finishing the EP off with a more anthemic song that must be a crowd-engaging song in a live setting. Both songs have dancing, synth-pop elements, though “Telescope” really captures the fun, big sing-along chorus that has worked well for bands such as Dancing On Tables.

We believe that this is a fantastically strong EP that will do wonders for Open Arms as they finish 2022 on an indisputable high note whilst setting their sights on raising the benchmark even further in 2023. We can hope that, with the aforementioned bands of Citrus Heights and Dancing On Tables, 2023 may bring opportunities for them to share live gig and festival stages together as that would likely make for an unforgettable pairing that will delight live crowds.

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