Although it seems unlikely given their past penchant for stripping down their musical influences to base elements, Color Wheel by Growing finds the group (Joe DeNardo and Kevin Doria) distilling their formula even further, ditching the heavy overtones and shooting for pure floating majesty. Even their stripped-down cover art - which is nothing more than a few scribbles of color on an otherwise white digipack - seems to follow suit.
Past efforts have touched on doom and crushing epic ambient music, but it seems that the duo has lightened up considerably as they've progressed, and there are only a few places on Color Wheel that manage to sound even remotely threatening. That said, there's still a sly fascination with metal at work here, but it's by no means heavy. The opening track of "Fancy Period" is where it's most noticeable, and the atmospheric noodling sounds like Eddie Van Halen shot full of narcotics and left to finger-tap in some sort of hazy dreamland. About halfway through, the track shifts into a more electronic piece, with flickering tones wafting across more soft washes.
"Friendly Confines" again takes sail on a soft bed of comforting drones before powering up about halfway through and letting loose with a dense sheet of feedback, but it's nothing that's too harsh, and it dissolves fairly quickly into drippy, delayed notes that bounce until the conclusion. At sixteen minutes, "Blue Angels" is the longest track on the album, and unfortunately it's also the least interesting. Progressing at a pace that makes glacial seem fast, the track stretches single fuzzy guitar notes into minutes-long phrases that simply fail to go much of anywhere.
As with all their albums, the group seems to tap into something in places that's just about as blissful as it gets. The aptly-titled "Peace Offering" is just over six minutes of filtered, reverb-heavy guitar strumming that actually offers up some lovely melodics. Basically, if you enjoy past work from the group, you're not going to go wrong here.