Coheed and Cambria craft tight return

VISUALLY SOUND – Before the band was formed, Coheed and Cambria frontman Claudio Sanchez wrote "The Amory Wars," a science-fiction comic book series from which the band bases its lyrics and themese for the first seven albums.  

Admittedly, I know very little about the vast comic book universe tied in with the albums of NY-based progressive rock band Coheed and Cambria. My roommate's brother-in-law has some of the comics, and that's about as close as I've ever come to reading them. Still, the music holds up perfectly well on its own, as proven by the band’s October 2015 album, “The Color Before the Sun.” 

The album kicks off with "Island," which is the kind of song that makes you feel like the protagonist in a 2004 teen movie. I mean this in the best possible way. The music and lyrics are reminiscent of the emo-alternative style that was so common during that decade. Singer Claudio Sanchez's voice has matured a bit since the last album, but it's kept its signature high pitch. 

Track two, "Eraser," is a bit more aggressive. It keeps up with the early 2000s vibe of "Island," with lyrics like "I don't think this me is who I am." I really like these first two songs. They're overwhelmingly positive in their sound – the kind of music that makes you feel like taking a walk on the beach. 

Track three, "Colors," is much more relaxed than the first two. It's slower for the majority of the song, and the chorus feels a little tired. Personally, it's not my favorite song. There's nothing technically wrong with the track, but to me, it feels a bit too bland compared to a pair of songs that were very tough acts to follow. 

"Here to Mars" picks up all the slack "Colors" left behind, with a strong, guitar-heavy intro and a chorus with the lyrics "There's no one like you on Earth who could be my universe." That's the kind of line that's guaranteed to make a hopeless romantic like myself swoon. 

"Ghost" is also a slow track, but unlike "Colors," it works. It sounds a lot like something Brand New (another great band that rose to fame in the first part of the century) would release: it's soft, melancholy, and gentle. It's a pretty, haunting song, no pun intended. 

"Atlas" carries on Coheed's grand tradition of five-minute songs that feel like epics. It's energetic, fast-paced and, in a word, thrilling. I'm not sure if it's officially a single, but it deserves to be. The band introduced it last year in the form of a live acoustic recording, and for good reason. It's the perfect representation of the album as a whole. 

Overall, “The Color Before the Sun” is the perfect album to put on when you miss being 14. It's a tight, well-made record that has succeeded in bringing the band straight back to its roots, making it perfect for nostalgic fans. Every Coheed and Cambria record is totally solid, but I'd suggest this album in particular for anyone who's just beginning to get into the band’s music. It works perfectly at being accessible without alienating the band's solid fan base.