Though Grawe's visual template is relatively simple—namely, sand in your shorts, bluebirds on your shoulder, day as a hum—Colors of the Sun can't be written off as ten tracks of generic electronica. He's a little craftier with how he administers his dose—melding lazybum disco, Krauty freeway jams and even a little Vangelis inspired synth-symphonics. Well timed for release, Colors of the Sun is a heels-in-the-air exercise for a season in shift. "Nesso" opens the album with strident synth and gently percolating rhythms before bursting into a beat as big-shouldered as any here (think La Düsseldorf with the benefit of hip-hop's bottom), while standout "Everything Is Neu" lives up to its cheeky title, borrowing the band's classic tight box rhythms and adding a long fingered synth pattern, kraut-digging (sorry) in a manner that recalls Riton's Eine Kleine Nacht Musik project from earlier this summer.
"Carefree Highway" meanwhile prefers its Coppertone balearica formed around jaunty '80s electro. A gorgeous arpeggiated synth pattern slowly emerges from the digitized strut, while guitar lines that sound like they were wrinkled by four hours in the tub flutter on the side. But perhaps the main attraction is still Hatchback's original version of "White Diamond." Assured and triumphant, Hatchback floods the sluggish beat with flush after flush of synth melody 'til you really can't tease the lines apart, slowly increasing its pace near the end. It's so blatantly emotive that if John Hughes were still making High School Americana pics, I'm pretty sure he'd tag this one for the transitional scene—the one where dawn peels back and the young anti-hero goes home with his love newly assured.
Of course, with an album so dependent on enfolding the listener in its satin moods, sometimes Hatchback's simplest techniques for setting them settle on the cheap. Let's talk Rhodes, which Grawe uses to often syrupy effect. Both "Closer to Forever" and "The Lotus and the Robot" could be Steely Dan cover band cuts if that group were indebted more to Aja than, say, Pretzel Logic. They're sticky with a sense of ersatz peace. With a waltzing Rhodes pattern and mild-morning synth, "Open Valley" also flirts with the chintzier charm of downtempo. Still, despite these minor critiques, Colors of the Sun is an album concerned more with the glide and slow stroll of its whole more than its stumbles, one to take in this autumn with cocoa or coffee or gutwarming spirits.