The Color Fred

Bend To Break

[4.5/5]


Taking Back Sunday guitarist Fred Mascherino, known here as the Color Fred, has been not-so-secretly penning songs for his own individual vision since his pre-TBS days in Philadelphia emo band Breaking Pangaea. The songs on his solo debut, which are grander than the usual solo-album fare of like-minded musicians (see: Dustin Kensrue, Jeremy Enigk), take a straight-forward rock route, diving through catchy guitar riffs, memorable choruses and thoughtful lyrics. Although they range from introspective, soaring ballads (the piano-tinged “It Isn’t Me”) to feel-good rockers (“If I Surrender,” which lends its lyrics to the disc’s title), Bend To Break is largely upbeat, throbbing with propulsive drumming, dynamic melodies and Mascherino’s instantly likeable sing-along vocals. Mascherino, who played everything except drums on the record, doesn’t have any tricks up his sleeve nor is he trying to forge any new territory with the 11 tracks on the disc. But Bend To Break is far more about crafting a clear, honest reflection of Mascherino than testing new waters-which very well may be groundbreaking in itself. (EQUAL VISION) Emily Zemler



ROCKS LIKE:

Hey Mercedes’ Loses Control

Hot Rod Circuit’s Sorry About Tomorrow

The Honorary Title’s Scream And Light Up The Sky



IN-STORE SESSION WITH FRED MASCHERINO



Is the Color Fred a solo project or a band?

Well, that’s a good question. I’m looking at it as a solo project that sounds like a band. See, I’m thinking of these solo projects back in the early ’80s. These days, a lot of the solo projects are a dude coming out with an acoustic guitar trying to do the Bob Dylan thing or some Duncan Sheik kind of set-up. I’m thinking more like Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins. They were big songs-big, rocking, powerful songs, so you wouldn’t really question it as much. That’s the way I’m looking at this.


When were most of the songs written?

I actually stuck with songs that were written in the past one to two years. I had about 45 songs when I decided I was going to do a record. But some of those were written four or five years ago, maybe they were leftovers from when I was in Breaking Pangaea. I decided a lot of the newer songs sort of were telling a story of what I’ve been going through in the last year or two. I decided I wanted to stick to those newer songs, and I think the album sounds better as a whole because I decided to do that.


How did you manage to schedule making this record in between your work with Taking Back Sunday?

It was not that easy. I was literally getting home from tour one day, going to the studio the next and going back on tour two days after the recording was done. I knew it was going to be tough to fit it all together, but I knew I had to make it happen. For the reasons that drive me, I needed to do it one way or another. It was a lot more work than I thought it was going to be. Doing things all by yourself is a lot harder than being part of a team. I bit off almost more than I could chew, but I still have some on my beard. [Laughs.]


Will the Color Fred have more albums in the future?

That was also my idea with this. I wanted something that I could continue doing for years to come. This is my creative outlet that didn’t have to rely on schedules and other people. I can see doing it for 10 years and I wouldn’t get sick of it-and it would be my fault if I did get sick of it. -Emily Zemler