Here's the bare bones of it: This song is magic—dusky, measured, sexy; familiar yet fresh, languorous, and possessing an intimacy and poise that bodes well for duo who have come clean out of nowhere. Kinda. Ex-poets are made up of vocalist Colin Killalea and Jordan Brooks. Both are ridiculously dextrous multi-instrumentalists (Brooks calls Killalea something of a "studio freak"), but in recent years, you may have caught them as the guitarist and bassist (respectively) providing the sauce for Albert Hammond Jr.'s band. This project took a long time to gestate, coming together remotely as the boys pinged each other ideas and songs and licks (after living in NYC for years Brooks currently resides in LA, and Killalea has been bouncing between NYC and Charlottesville and is, apparently, West Coast bound). They then corralled together a bunch of their talented pals—behind the scenes peeps like Jon Natchez (who's played in War on Drugs) on bass clarinet and Frank Locrasto (Cass McCombs) on keys, to name just two.
"Colorguard" is their debut song. The kind of velvety tune that'll find favor with fans of Josef Salvat at his most 3:32 AM introspective. There's even something Sting-like about Killalea's tones. But like, early Sting, not latter-day tight T-shirt, I-can-see-you-nips Sting. Turns out this song was really the seed for this nascent project. Brooks describes Killalea as his musical other half.
"The last time I was at Glasslands was New Year's Eve, maybe their last show before it closed, and all these hip indie bands were playing, but they were playing King Tubby and stuff between the sets," recalls Brooks. "In a somewhat heightened state of awareness, an idea flashed to me to try something on this beautiful song of Colin's. So later in the week I did a demo arrangement with a kind of one-drop feel and some eerie keyboards. I sent it to Colin and he loved it, and that was sort of the jumping off point for us writing and recording a full record together."
More incoming at some point, but for now, wrap yourself in the understated majesty of this sucker.
Artwork / photo by Chris Tucci.