The sky was cold-fire sunrise, the clouds alive in wild paint, but all of it blurred in the dynamite crescendo.
Reading Richard Bach's brilliantly illustrative turns of phrase in Illusions, it is almost impossible not to be moved by the vivid imagery he uses in the exercise of his craft. So, in kind, it seems only fitting that one of music's most promising young groups find the inspiration for its moniker in the words of such a talented writer.
In fusing together transplants of Terminal and Goodbye Tomorrow, Alive In Wild Paint's four members (frontman Travis Bryant, guitarist Matt Grabe, bassist David Roat, and drummer Austin Wilson) are certainly no strangers to the music industry. And while you might think this could grant carte blanche access to success in the biz, the band has faced plenty of adversity on the way to release their Equal Vision debut, Ceilings. Whether it be roster shuffles, release date backpedaling, or even van theft, the guys still seem to have somehow come out stronger on the other side. "We're at a very good place, both musically and in our relationships with each other," says Roat. Through it all, the collective's strong work ethic and perseverance has prevailed, as David reminds us all, "You have to look at the big picture though, and have faith that your hard work and creativity will have some reward in the end."
So alas, while the turbulence leading up to the unveiling of Ceilings might lend itself to a natural sort of anger or bitter undertone in the band's music, Alive In Wild Paint instead so coolly convey a disarming sort of tranquility. Centering around Bryant's breathy, angelic croon, the band weaves together a set of calming expressions that are the perfect tonic to relieve the stresses of everyday life. Whether it be in the dancing pizzicato of the record's title track, the subtle, minimalist instrumentation on "Traffic," or the haunting piano balladry of "Forecasting," Alive In Wild Paint skillfully prove they have a handle on the softer side of things. However, it is just as plain to see that the collective is far from a one-trick pony. Discussing the work as a whole, Roat explains, "Ceilings is a very diverse record, and I think that's a big highlight of the album. It showcases our ability to demonstrate different sides of our songwriting." And this is exceedingly evident in kind - the lush drama of "Crystal Selves," the driving rock pulse of "Sleep With Your Soul In," the sweeping majesty of the re-imagined "A Vespertine Haunting," or a host of others. The end result is a record that is varied, yet cohesive - indeed the best of both worlds.
With Alive In Wild Paint hailing from sunny Arizona, and Ceilings being a thoughtful expression of accessible indie rock helmed by mega-producer Mark Trombino, it makes perfect sense to indulge in comparisons to Jimmy Eat World's Clarity. And while the band acknowledges those parallels, their debut draws from a much wider base than just its hometown heroes - Snow Patrol, Counting Crows, Nada Surf, Radiohead, Blonde Redhead, The Cardigans. It makes sense to take cues from such a broad spectrum of music's finest when making a record like Ceilings - a record inspired by "the idea of creating songs that could be in film." It's not a stretch, though, since the scope of Ceilings succeeds in matching its ambition. You could say that is attributable to any number of factors, but above all, it seems that the group has always remained grounded in the importance of perseverance. Looking back, Roat reflects, "I'm sure we all faced our own personal doubts and fears from time to time, but our passion always outweighed any idea of giving up." And when listeners have a chance to bask in the mastery of Alive In Wild Paint's debut, they couldn't be happier it has come to fruition.