In keeping with their single minded voyaging between disparate sonic realms, Colourmusic’s greatest influence has always been their own intuition. Take new album May You Marry Rich, released via Memphis Industries on 24 March 2014: described by co-founder, vocalist and guitarist Ryan Hendrix as their “purple album,” it’s an LP that takes the four-piece’s previous full-length, 2011’s My ___ Is Pink, as starting point and expands upon it in different and unusual directions.
Formed in Oklahoma in 2005 with British-born Nick Turner, some years after bonding over Aphex Twin during their University days together, Colourmusic expanded to include bassist Colin Fleishacker and drummer Nicholas Ley. With two previous albums under their belts, “F, Monday, Orange, February, Venus, Lunatic, 1 or 13” and “My ___ Is Pink”, the group have gained a justified reputation for marrying hallucinatory textures and experimental rock tropes with an off-kilter take on the world. Anything from writing songs based on Newton’s theory of colour to songs written at the tempo that people have sex have been explored during their nine years together.
May You Marry Rich is a darker affair, though, with its twelve sprawling tracks obsessing over mankind’s seemingly insatiable lust for pure happiness. “It’s about having the option to have anything you want, like a King, and asking whether that would make you happy,” Hendrix explains. “It’s about happiness and a theory that we’re not wired to have contentment as our genetic disposition.”
As such, songs are thematically hard-headed, even as their messages unfurl over more malleable territories that alter between anything from crystalline synth sirens and electronic percussive patterns, to hard rock ballast and more serrated guitar lines. ‘Dreamgirl ’82,’ for instance posits that, even when finding your supposedly perfect match, your relationship is still dictated by how you deal with yourself. Similarly, ‘Silvertape’ deals with getting married and having to lose yourself so that the relationship will work. “The lyric ’I won’t hold you back when I hold you down,’ from ‘Dreamgirl ‘82’ is the definition of a good relationship,” Hendrix says. “It prevents you having total freedom, but it doesn’t mean you don’t love that person.”
Colourmusic haven’t completely closed down their kaleidoscopic perceptions though – far from it. Thoughts wander constantly, as on ‘Horse Race,’ which Hendrix describes as one of several “James Bond” songs on the album, for their panoramic scale, in which the track asks if we will still need Wal-marts in Heaven. Further evidence of May You Marry Rich working as an un-ordered presentation of Hendrix’s mind, comes in the little cultural reference points dropped throughout the album. The hazy, tilt-a-whirl circus ride of ‘Rendezvous With Destiny’ takes its title from a Ronald Reagan book, similarly ‘Satyricon’ comes from Italian Federico Fellini’s film of the same name. The album finishes with the track “Idiot”, which Hendrix proudly describes as a “homage” to Iggy Pop’s 1977 debut solo LP The Idiot, (“It was a profound influence on the album, it’s one of the most unashamedly ugly records ever; it uses synthesizers in a brutal way.”) To that end, ‘Idiot’s’ six minute of debauched industrial electronics jar and clatter with an unhindered malevolence and uncomfortably addictive power.
May You Marry Rich, then, is a powerhouse of a record, a towering inferno of ideas. “But we’re not pounding these themes into people’s heads,” Hendrix says. “They’re more prompts, to give you a sense and the flavours of what we’re exploring.” The message is simple then: attempt to join the dots up yourself; just don’t expect your finished picture to be the same as anyone else’s.