It’s rare that I find indie rock enjoyable. The obsessive naval-gazing and unrestrained addiction to reverb that plagues this genre often makes it a chore to listen to, as melodies and rhythms give way to an unassailable wall of drivel disguised as ‘artistic garage’. It is with this in mind that I approached Only the Lonely, the second studio album of Tennessee quarter Colony House. I expected a collection of down-tempo, plodding tracks filled with “quirky” lyrical turns and noises. How wrong I was.

It took only until the exit of the first track for me to be convinced I’d found something at least surprising here – Cannot Do This Alone is at once catchy, saturated with clever lyrical content, and a whisker away from being utterly brilliant. I then spent the rest of the album attempting to find the catch, the point at which Only The Lonely reverted to standard type – but the band members’ gazes stayed thankfully averse of their shoes.

After a potential brief hiccough with the jarring buildup of 1234, the riffing section of the album begins, with Lonely contributing a stonking bassline, and proving an excellent setup for what in my mind is the highlight of the album: You & I, an almost perfectly constructed song with an excellent guitar riff and a strong theme of acknowledgement of change and unworkable circumstances. Scattered in are a couple of songs that give off a strong Beatles vibe – listen to You Know It and tell me that the Fab Four would not be at home performing that.

The one weak link in the album seems to be Follow Me Down, as it seems more generic and less energetic than the other songs on the album. However, with 13 other songs on the album, it is more than worth the money, and closes strongly with the beautifully melancholy This Beautiful Life.

It’s not often that I am this surprised by an album. While Only the Lonely does not do a lot that is new, it combines excellent riffing with strongly-structured songs, excellent lyricism and enough to variety to ensure that it doesn’t ever feel like it’s overstaying its welcome. We’re only two weeks into January, but I may well have found a strong contender for my album of the year already. If they continue like this, I doubt Colony House‘s music will be heard by only the lonely for much longer.

Best Songs: Cannot Do This Alone, Lonely, You & I, You Know It, This Beautiful Life

Rating: Excellent