Sound — 8
Cinematic Sunrise is a project fronted by Chiodos leading man Craig Owens and featuring Chiodos bandmate Bradley Bell on keyboards. Despite the shared personnel between the two groups, Cinematic Sunrise's lighthearted guitar-pop differs greatly from the angsty, menacing post-hardcore of Chiodos. "A Coloring Storybook and Long Playing Record" is an album of bright-eyed optimism, enchanting melodies, and sticky-sweet pop sesibility. Cinematic Sunrise drifts effortlessly between soft piano-and-acoustic guitar verses and huge triumphant distorted-guitar choruses. While the group has developed a formula of chugging powerpop rhythm guitars and unvariably high vocals, the musicians of Cinematic Sunrise make brilliant use of dynamics and of irregular structures to keep their pop melodies from becoming boring or too generic.
Lyrics — 10
With Cinematic Sunrise, frontman Craig Owens takes a step back from the gory tales of doom and gloom that he crafted for Chiodos. While most of the songs on Cinematic Sunrise's debut EP do feature Owens's trademark subjects of sadness and self-destruction, these themes are handled in a more optimistic manner, and the mood of the music as a whole is very positive. Even "Goodbye Friendship, Hello Heartache", a song that makies clear reference to alcoholism and to a worsening, ends on a rather positive note, with the narrator realising that he needs to abandon the relationship to avoid being further hurt. Owens handles the material beatifully, his unmistakable falsetto providing a soothing-sounding vehicle for the colourful imagery and declarations of love that fill the album. He navigates the band's dynamic shifts with, shifting from a whisper to a yell to his signature high-register coo without treading on ground that was already exhausted by Chiodos.
Overall Impression — 8
While the band does adhere to a pop formula similar to the one being used by their innumerable pop-punk/powerpop contemporaries, Cinematic Sunrise's use of keyboards as a primary instrument sets them apart from guitar-driven groups like Paramore and Fall Out Boy. The band is at its best on softer tracks like "Umbrellas and Elephants", a powerpop ballad laced with chiming new-age keyboard and surrealistic imagery. "You Told Me You Loved Me" stands as the highlight of the EP. On this track, Bell constructs a wandering piano-pop melody to back Owens's lulling whispers. Strings swell quietly in the background as the song builds in intensity and erupts into a victorious climax. The softer tracks on the album demonstrates that, while they might indulge in the same humorous emo-inspired track titles as their contemporaries, Cinematic Sunrise is a surprisingly mature band. They certainly aren't reinventing or redefining music, but as far as bright-eyed pop goes, Cinematic Sunrise does it very well.