Colony is amazingly straightforward. Other bands of its caliber may have aspirations to share some deep insights on the world, or explore new forms of sound, but Colony is just content to play simple little rock songs. It may not be original, and in its weaker moments, Colony can be pretty dull, but Who I Wanted To Be succeeds because Colony is not trying to rise above its status as uncomplicated rock band, and it is proud of it.
Colony seems to have its heart in the right place as it embraces happiness and everyday concerns when so much of modern rock is wallowing in self-pity or rage. The band’s outlook may be a bit limited, but there is a charming innocence about Who I Wanted To Be that keeps it from becoming little more than an exercise in adolescent foolhardiness. The band is honest, and even its missteps, like the silly “Sweet As Candy”, which is as dopey as the titled would suggest, come across as cute and sincere since Colony plays up the angle of innocence. It is a cheesy little song, but even songs like this hint at Colony’s perpetual charm.
With eleven songs that would fit nicely onto any soundtrack for any teen movie, Colony’s simple songs focus on youthful concerns. The band isn’t trying to be profound, and all it has to say may seem a little light and a little obvious, but Colony pulls this off because the band member have. Songs like the title track, which tells of the perils of being in a rock band, as well as songs like “Girls That Aren’t Mine” which playfully takes on the allure of liking other people’s girlfriends are pretty undemanding but appealing nonetheless. The band’s whole philosophy can be summed up in these lyrics from “Happy”: “If you’re happy, you’re cool. If you try to be someone else, you’re a fool”.
The members of Colony have a decent command of their instruments, but that is all they need. While the band’s style seem to be rooted in the joy of jamming in a garage, Colony has the ability to construct uncluttered compositions that provides a freshness that lessens what would otherwise by monotony. Even if the chord progressions it picks are basic and all of the songs on Who I Wanted To Be resemble each other closely (minus the obligatory ballads like “Shivering”), Colony maintains its energy and creates an album that is spirited and fun while not worrying if it is breaking new ground. Employing the strengths the band does have, songs like “So Familiar” become surprising and moving.
Regrettably, Colony misses its mark every now and then. The overstated “Natalie” just becomes another of those songs about a particular girl and is one song the album could have benefited from going without. Radio-friendly almost to a fault, the band’s sound is undoubtedly generic, and while it many be enjoyable despite of that, it becomes a challenge to remember more than one or two songs from Who I Wanted To Be. Colony is thankfully not trying too hard, but sometimes the band just seems to be going through the motions.
Colony isn’t, and will never be, a great band, but from Who I Wanted To Be, it is a band that is good enough for what it is. Colony is making music that is fun, and even if it doesn’t leave listeners with much more than a bit of entertainment, Colony seems to realize that sometimes that is enough. Who I Wanted To Be gives listeners exactly that.