“This album is mixed and mastered for high dynamic range; don’t blast this album on first listen, as some areas will be much louder than others.” David Cowling, aka the April Fools Childrenhood and half of the Vancouver duo Leave, included this advisory on the Bandcamp page of his first solo album Youth Is Yesterday (2014). However, the same warning could be applied to his follow-up, the five-track Low Colour EP. 26 seconds of near-silence, footsteps, and creaky doors lure in listeners on the aptly titled opening track “Low”.
But whereas Youth Is Yesterday glows with submarine electronics and vocal harmonies interrupted by fizzling discordance, Cowling pulls back almost all of that on Low Colour. True to the mental image that the EP’s title evokes, Low Colour is a diffused affair. The songs feel exposed, bare. His voice reverberates no more, creating a sense of close proximity between him and the listener. He seems to have shifted his focus from textures to lyrics and guitar-playing. His threadlike guitar work and plaintive vocals won’t blow any eardrums, maybe unless listeners leave the volume cranked to detect the minimal sounds on “Low”. Despite that, he insists on Low Colour’s Bandcamp page that the EP is “a quiet collection meant to be listened to loud.”
Cowling composed the songs that make up Youth Is Yesterday over three years as individual songs that he then decided to remix to work as a whole. Low Colour continues the theme of disparate parts insofar as the EP feels like a sketch, a prelude to something more substantial. Such is often the purpose of EPs, but we’ll just have to wait and see if he picks up the threads that he’s unspooled here.
Low Colour is out February 10, 2017.