Since relocating to Bend from Austin, Texas, in 2013, engineer and multiinstrumentalist Scott Oliphant has become known for his analog recordings out of his studio, Parkway Sounds, with past and upcoming credits including Bony Chanterelle, Trailer 31, Jason Chinchen and Possessed by Paul James. He started assembling his own songs by himself at his studio late last year, and emerged with the debut, self-titled album from The Color Study 10 months later. The record dropped on digital platforms in August, followed shortly by the band’s live debut (with Oliphant joined by bassist Matt Jackson and drummer Andy Jacobs) in September. Here’s a look back at the album ahead of its upcoming vinyl release.
Though only nine songs long, “The Color Study” sprawls, encompassing fuzzed-out shoegaze, lilting indie-folk, Animal Collective-esque sound experiments and sweeping orchestration. Oliphant created all the sounds heard on the tracks, and his meticulous work paid off in soundscapes that reward (if not demand) multiple listens.
“Open the Windows” kicks the record off with Oliphant’s reverb-soaked, multitracked harmonies rising to the top of a grimy, stomping groove. The analog production — everything was recorded to 2-inch tape — gives songs such as “Turn Around” and the epic, multipart “Where are You/All the Time” a warm, textured feel. Much of the album feels as if you’re looking into a pond you can’t see the bottom of, which adds to the often introspective mood of the lyrics.
Oliphant is at his best when his many disparate influences come together into a whole, as on “Without,” which starts with fingerpicked acoustic lines before exploding into a horn-driven indie rocker. “Running Red” is another highlight that slowly builds from strummed acoustics to some of the most explosive guitar playing on the record.
Oliphant will open for AM Clouds at its single-release show for “Headlong,” which was moved to Dec. 15 at Spoken Moto.
— Brian McElhiney, The Bulletin