Austin Colon’s album The Path Ahead starts with the Track Alone (Again?) in an unsuspecting, approachable way. Not far behind a small intro, you hear Austin’s first lyrics. A warm, welcoming, almost Phil Collins feel to the cadence, with a bright but soulful undertone. Soon though, you realize the album will be a force to be reckoned with, as the back half of the first track holds tightly onto a sublime and gnarly blues solo. An early indicator that this album is not for the faint of heart.
Alone (Again?) beautifully transitions into the technical and trippy blend of acoustics and electronics with Perfect Moments. A beautifully melancholic song that almost oscillates around you with its dizzying arrangement of ephemeral ennui, Perfect Moments is a beautiful fireworks display of heartache for the ears.
Winding down into 10 (a Poem), a simple and devastatingly well performed piece of standalone piano and vocality, the album lulls a bit, giving you time to breathe but never ceasing to amaze. The cryptic and poetic composition point to a song that’s deeply personal, and the passionate conviction of every lyric bleeds into your brain, singing lying down together / I see you then / the time will bend / the pain will end.
Little Pieces hits you. Hard. It’s a hard song to think about, it’s a hard song to write about. It’s a masterpiece. After spending half an album displaying every round of technical mastery in instrumentation and composure, Colon builds a piece entirely of refrain. Placing lyrical weight into the darkness of negative space and emerging with an absolute and unspeakably heart-wrenching gift. I can’t say much more, I wouldn’t dare spoil the track, it deserves to be heard first. More importantly, you owe it to yourself to hear it first.
Perspective, a short instrumental track, once again demonstrates the technical abilities of Colon, as well as providing a cathartic respite, seguing nicely between the sadness of Little Pieces and the resentment of Silence is Dangerous.
Silence is Dangerous, a more political offering, tells the story of America through its youth. A young black body lies on the ground, a crimson halo ‘round his head – the violence, in turn, being covered up and ignored by the media. The second verse alludes to a young girl being sent away to a straight camp, her feelings of love discounted and scorned by her family. The song is well spoken and a necessary piece for any artist’s repertoire, as the ability to discuss things other than the self is becoming increasingly relevant in today’s atmosphere.
Fall Back into Place, a bluesy offering, feels like a grown-up Jonny Lang hit with the smooth aftertaste of a John Mayer backing track. A sweet and sorrowful tale of loving someone more than you love yourself, and the heartbreaking ability to know how that’s going to end. Fall Back into Place is ripe for the picking by any radio station – it’s instantly relatable, immediately recognizable, and still infinitely Colon’s own.
I See Right Through Myself, an ethereal track of self-reflection, provides the perfect moment of denouement for the album. An even keel and calm piece of art, the song reads like a looking glass mosaic, gleaming beautiful and brilliant pieces of yourself back at you in a truly different light. The song is immediately followed by Anagnorosis, a bright and airy, almost Celtic offering, that dances along through the metamorphosis of change and the promise it brings.
Love, Frail, is an abstract piece of brilliance. Short but pointed, the lyrics are free form and associative. The sound incorporates elements of everyday confusion and white noise, as well as instrumentation to produce a unique and rewarding sound that perfectly preambles the title track.
The Path Ahead is a hopeful and bright, though slightly melancholic offering. It rings with a piano and vocal timbre reminiscent of an old Chicago hit. A stunning piece of an eclectic whole, the title track is but one facet of the brilliance of the album itself. A perfect offering for the rainy days and long nights, The Path Ahead is destined to age brilliantly as the album you come back to time and time again just to feel something.