Review: Melbourne’s Colourburn sets a high bar with Compromise in Colour (2023 EP)

Melbourne alt-rock trio Colourburn have today released their debut EP Compromise in Colour, a bold entry to the scene with clear talent and intent. The five-track project was produced by Christopher Vernon (Bloom, Belle Haven, Tapestry) and draws influence from the likes of Movements, Citizen and Eat Your Heart Out.

Comprised of Jordyn Briggs (vocals), Jack Gray (bass) and Josh McIntosh (guitar), Colourburn formed during the throes of the pandemic in 2020. Compromise in Colour was born from a reignited passion for alternative rock music, with riffs and voice memos from years before being put to good use. The trio have created something powerful that proves to be both nostalgic yet refreshing.

Opening the EP is “Feel Me”, shining with an upbeat bassline and reverberant licks. It has Briggs’ full range on display, from the sultry lows to the piercing highs, and feels like her most assured performance on here. Crushing riffs and frantic drums close out the song, leaving a bold first impression that excites for the next.

“Blue Flame” highlights the busy drums with foreboding guitars to create a menacing cut about narcissism. Intricate patterns and stop-start passages demonstrate the trio is capable of writing (and performing) beyond conventional structures whilst still packing a punch. Reminiscent of EYHO, the bitter lyrics balanced with sweet harmonies make this an angry emo belter.

In the middle, “Folded Letter” raises the stakes with thudding rhythms and muted riffs toward a groovy chorus. Briggs’ delivery is versatile and arresting, especially in the soaring bridge, with a poignant message of clarity in distance. The layered guitars and crashing drums combine with daring vocals for a fun headbanging three minutes.

As we move into the latter half of the EP, the gritty opening riffs of “Sinkhole” welcome the band’s heavier side, with haunting melodies and a thundering rhythm section (think Staind meets Basement). Its stomping bridge offers a chaotic release in the wake of a tense buildup – much like a sinkhole – and showcases some impressive vocal control from Briggs. This track is a definitely a standout on the EP and stays with you long after the song has ended.

Bringing the EP to a close is their debut single “Star”, a grungy post-punk track exploring the complex emotions of a breakup – the video for which gives off strong “Freak on a Leash” vibes. Chunky riffs keep you nodding along before dipping off for a spacious verse then picking up again in the huge singalong chorus. Briggs’ warm vocals in a low register give the song a brooding feel and make it all the more affecting in the high notes of the hook.

Compromise in Colour is a promising statement from these Melbourne upstarts and sets the bar high for what’s to follow. With the grit of 2000s nu-metal and sensibility of modern easycore, Colourburn have created something truly great in their debut effort. Whether you prefer jumping around in the pit or singing along in the car, this EP is sure to tick all the boxes.


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