Album Review: Color Theory – Underneath These Dying Stars

Underneath These Dying Stars is the 13th studio album by Color Theory. The Los Angeles, USA-based songwriter and producer, real name Brian Hazard, has been delivering synth-based music since the age of Napster. Yet, it’s taken until now for him to hit our radar. His latest shows us a darker side to his music, and I couldn’t wait to get stuck into it.

By Graeme Smith

Though new to us, Brian has had a prestigious career so far. He’s won the Grand Prize in the John Lennon song writing contest, and his music has been featured in video games such as Just Dance and Rock Band, and TV shows including MTV’s The Real World.

Underneath These Dying Stars is ’80s style synthpop and synth wave, dark but with hints of optimism. It opens with Crystal. It’s a bright and vibrant start. The melody is instantly captivating while the vocals provide a contrasting melancholy. soulful vocals bring the track’s emotion to life. It’s welcoming and a good indication of what is to come.

Trick of the Light is a moodier moment. It has a slower tempo and vocals that are full of longing. If You Want Me To is beautifully textured. Bass notes meet floating, ethereal electronica before we reach an upbeat pop chorus. The Darkness is suitably dingy but its descriptive lyrics will transport you and there are some lighter elements that make it a highlight.

Death Machine is rich with retro, pulsating bass and percussion garnished with delicate synth. The Rot keeps things brooding and the imagery in its lyrics are wonderfully engaging. The Serious One introduces some introspective romance. Its vocals are particularly compelling. She’s Made of Wires brings us a sci-fi twist in its eccentric, storytelling lyrics. It’s another highlight.

Wrath ups the tempo and provides a pleasingly complex electronic arrangement. Cakewalk is delicate and poetic before The Darkroom closes the album with a simmering trance-inducing number. Its dark groove will definitely have you moving and I think Color Theory definitely left the best for last. It’s a final highlight.

Underneath These Dying Stars is set for release on 6 October 2023 in all the usual places.