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Synth Single Review: "Sinister" by Color Theory and Chris Keya

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.


Color Theory (Brian Hazard) and Chris Keya’s Sinister is a tale of a twisted obligation and attachment told in Brian Hazard’s distinctive lyrical and vocal style. Chris Keya adds his powerful cyberpunk sound to the music as well. Rapidly pulsing, undulating, digital-sounding synth is cut by round, rough sonic bursts as a desolate, medium-high note pattern falls through the song. Brian Hazard’s unique, expressive voice carries the shadowed lyrics over the constant throb of drums and waves of sharp-edged synth.

The melancholy tremble in Brian Hazard’s voice emphasizes the emotions in the lyrics. Brighter, wide-sounding synth tumbles in a repeating pattern and angular synths drift in. As the vocals come back in, flashing synth flickers and flows behind them and gritty synth circle in. The vocal melody hurts and climbs while the synth feels gentler. Digital-sounding synth repeats an oscillation and through it all, the solid drums throb and add form to the music.

Our narrator asks if there’s no one else to blame for “this mania, this sickness” as he talks about “this radiance, this fiction.” He talks about the other person “forgives all transgressions” without asking for “remorse, apologies, concessions” or other “units of force.”

The narrator speaks of how he should “concede” when beaten, hide his “darker moods” and “confront my inner demons” while rubbing “the salt into the wound.” He admits that in this relationship, he’s been “systematically sinister” because he doesn’t need to compromise “when you can see the surrender in her eyes.”

The relationship is truly twisted as the narrator talks about how every kind thing he does is “the product of regret” and that his “chivalry is selfish” because of the “outstanding debt.” Now our narrator says he should be in control of his emotions, confess his “hidden truths” while containing “the slow corrosion of my moralistic youth.”

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© 2022 Karl Magi

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