To a fan of mainstream rock music, COHEED AND CAMBRIA is known for their hits A Favor House Atlantic and Welcome Home. To a fan of COHEED AND CAMBRIA, the first thing that comes to mind is the conceptual stories behind the lyrics of their albums Their newest release was surprising to many fans, as it is the first album without a concept, and the first one to not take place in the Amory Wars Saga. However, the band has proven themselves in their 20-year career as a band full of great lyrics, songwriting, melody, and hooks. So it should be no surprise that this album continues that trend. Instead, the lyrics revolve around things that have been going on recently in the life of singer/songwriter/guitarist Claudio Sanchez, such as moving from the country to the city, as well as having a baby boy named Atlas. The album starts with the incredibly catchy Island, complete with background female vocals supplied by Claudio’s wife Chondra. Eraser is a heavier and darker track during the verse, but equally as catchy as Island during the chorus. It becomes clear quickly that the band is focused more on the pop side of this music, as opposed to the complex progressive passages that we saw on albums such as In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 and the Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV albums. However, it is obviously not an issue, as they have already been progressing in terms of confidence in melodies and maturity in lyrics on the previous three albums. Now, on The Color Before The Sun, they have perfected it. From the Deftones feel on Colors, to the beautiful Here To Mars, which might be one of the best love songs to come out in the last couple of years, to the mysterious acoustic led ballad of Ghost, this album has it all. Atlas, a song written for Claudio and Chondra’s newborn son, is definitely one of the highlights of the album and is lyrically one of the best songs the band has ever put out. You’ve Got Spirit Kid is another stand out track and was a great choice for a single. The album’s closer Peace To The Mountain is borderline post-rock reminding me of the great British band Oceansize. Overall, this album is as close to perfect as it gets, and leaves me wanting more of this new direction from the band on whatever they do next.