[Album Review] Devon Sproule & Mike O'Neil - Colours
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by Nilabjo Banerjee
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Release Date: September 24th, 2013
Label: Tin Angel Records

Collaboration can yield varied results. In Colours, American chanteuse Devon Sproule and Canadian Mike O’Neill have paired up to produce an album that feels more like a split EP than a duet album.

The duo first met when the ex -The Inbred’s frontman O’Neill submitted a video for Low Key Karaoke project.  The project is Sproule’s initiative to create remote duets, resulting in a stellar Everly Brother’s cover.  That sparked a long-distance songwriting partnership between the Halifax native O’Neill and Austin based Sproule.

Colours include solo tracks that present Kingston-born Sproule’s folk and jazz sounds. She thrives in the soft-indie opener “You Can Come Home”, playful jazz number “The Fan” or the lamenting “Nobody Tells Me a Thing.” They act as a good introduction to someone who would not be familiar to her previous works. The tracks with shared vocal duties show off how well Sproule and O’Neill’s vocals compliment each other such as the alt-country single, “You Can’t Help It”.  The duets feature conversational style songwriting, ironic given the distance and remoteness between the duo.  Tracks like “The Fire Inside” and Colours are engaging examples of contrasting exchanges.  The lack of such tracks does give you a sense of how far apart they were during the process. That realization, while presenting evidence of technology’s marvel, does take away from the charm of the album. All Colours needs a bit more of the intimacy of a partnership.