TODD UNDERWOOD Shows Us Both ‘Color and Contrast’

Todd Underwood

With a hard edge, tasty guitar riffs, and sharp contrasting melodies, Todd Underwood explodes out of the gates with an in-your-face harmonic punch on his latest release Color and Contrast. This twelve song collection of witty songwriting gems is quick to be in our repeat list, as each listen offers new shiny tidbits of creative nuances which seems to be lost by today’s standards. Interested in diving deep into the human psyche, Todd Underwood tackles issues of empathy, regret, hope, and spiritual challenge. Utilizing a vast arsenal of instrumentation, while staying close to the rock format, Todd is able to blend many unique themes and musical ideas into an enjoyable, dance-along repertoire of potential hit singles into a package worthy of industry attention.

The opening track, “Four Words,” is an open letter to someone dear to Todd, as he strips down his ego, allowing himself to feel the pain his correspondent feels. With a deep understanding of the human condition and the compassion for the emotional state, Todd declares “I said I wouldn’t say, I’ll never say that I told you so.” These four words have the power to hurt, as well as remind others the wisdom offered can sometimes be sound. The irony Underwood presents, however, is an entire track devoted to reminding his mate of the fact,  saying “I told you so.” This track features many exciting call-and-response-style guitar fills and riffs to help illustrate the underlying paradox in the songwriting structure. A grand opening track, as it sets the pace for the sonically charged album leaving the listener craving more.

“Stuck In the Middle” is an exercise in groove, as Underwood explores the many possibilities of syncopating the rhythm to offer a contrasting balance between the inside and out. Utilizing this unique up-and-down funk, the subject matter is highlighted into a broader understanding, balancing his responsibilities to the many aspects which influence him. With revelations of “I’m not your go-between,” and “I’m not the instigator,” the singer opens up on the challenges of being a great friend and a confidant while attempting to retain his integrity. “All I want to say, you’re on the inside; they’re on the outside; I don’t want to be stuck in the middle.”

The title track, “Color and Contrast,” blasts open at the onset with an explosive vocal exposition. The short staccato rhythm gets the heart beating while Todd encapsulates the theme of this album with blending the abstract with the fantastic. The balance of all things being that which drives Todd’s songwriting and his jubilation for life. “Color and Contrast makes me feel alive, Color and Contrast helps me thrive.” To musically highlight this point the expressive choral singing is juxtaposed by a heavy distortion central guitar theme.

The highlight track from Color and Contrast, in this reviewers opinion, however, is “Don’t Judge Me.” As the track opens with a showcase of drumming savvy, snare rolls on top of double time syncopation, we also receive tasty bass fills out of nowhere to capture our attention and possess us to throw our hands in the air, dancing along. If this wasn’t enough, Todd Underwood spoils us with a demonstration of the vocal range he may have kept under the radar up to now. Utilizing three full ranges, “Don’t Judge Me” is rich with expression, feeling and musical power.

With a hard edge, tasty guitar riffs, and sharp contrasting melodies, Todd Underwood explodes out of the gates with an in-your-face harmonic punch on his latest release, Color and Contrast. This twelve song collection of witty songwriting gems is quick to be in our repeat list, as each listen offers new shiny tidbits of creative nuances which seems to be lost by today’s standards. Interested in diving deep into the human psyche Todd Underwood tackles issues of empathy, regret, hope, and spiritual challenge. Utilizing a vast arsenal of instrumentation, while staying close to the rock format Todd is able to blend many unique themes and musical ideas into an enjoyable, dance-along repertoire of potential hit singles into a single package worthy of industry attention.

Color and Contrast became a quick favorite for 2019, as it delivered more than the anticipated reaction from me. With plenty of musical ideas present, one would think it would be saturated to the point of muddled, yet Todd Underwood was able to professionally utilize all the concepts maturely, highlighting his growth as a songwriter and instrumentalist. The album’s mix was well-executed as each frequency was separated effectively allowing all the different voices to be heard distortion-free at high volumes, which is where we kept it throughout, yet blended with plenty of allotted headroom to offer the complete, full sound we come to expect from a professional, major label-worthy release. Color and Contrast would make an excellent addition to any rock radio format playlist as each track offers the crucial rock elements while maintaining a pop-friendly, sing-along, infectious chorus system which caters to any fan of the electric guitar. Whether in the car or the club, Color and Contrast offers precisely that, plenty of Color with an enjoyable Contrast.

-Reviewed by: Lee Callaghan – Evolution Music Press