There are things I wish I’d known…

Color Theory is the musical vehicle for US-based musician Brian Hazard, a long-running electronic outfit that stretches back to the 1990s. In his high school days, Hazard was originally a pianist in the school jazz band before earning his Bachelor of Music degree. But even then, Hazard was already looking at expanding his musical world, taking inspiration from the classic 1980s period and citing the likes of Depeche Mode, The Cure and The Smiths as particular touchstones for influences.

That darker, melancholic aspect of such classic acts certainly finds its way into a lot of Color Theory’s music. This includes new release ‘The Outset’ which has a moody sense of self-reflection that pricks at the corners of the human condition.

It’s a composition that’s a synth crush of goodness in which its starker qualities are offset by Hazard’s casual vocals. Dealing with themes of wishing for foreknowledge in situations, the lyrical narrative weaves a chilly tale of doubt and regret (“I believe that people can change/But there are some traits set in stone”).

Originally, Hazard conjured up the term “Electronic acoustic romance” to describe Color Theory’s approach to music. More recently, he’s offered up the term “melancholy synthwave.”

They’re both apt descriptions with the music often demonstrating a lush yet airy quality to it; distinctly electronic, yet with a warm, engaging element at work. Darker synth-pop can often take the listener across bleaker landscapes, but Color Theory seems to deftly skip around this to produce emotive compositions that touch the heart.

On occasion, Hazard can also lend his distinctive style to collaborative projects. His work with ELYXR for the Eternal Life Eternal Youth album (see TEC review previously) gave us the summery vibes of ‘The Last Day of Summer’.

‘The Outset’ is pulled from Color Theory’s upcoming new album Mages which, on the basis of this track, suggests a synth-pop album worth checking out.

‘The Outset’ is out now:

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