Alternative rock band COUNCIL have come a long way over the past five years, and have been a favorite of mine since I first learned about them back in 2016. The three-piece is comprised of twin brothers Patrick (bass, lead vocals) and Doug (drums) Reeves, and their younger brother Andy (guitar). Raised on a farm in rural upstate New York, they now split their time between tending the family farm and working on their music in New York City.
Their dynamic sound – which they describe as ‘dark optimism’ – is characterized by dramatic, sweeping melodies, bold instrumentation and anthemic choruses that have seen them favorably compared to Imagine Dragons. Their magnificent debut single “Rust to Gold” received worldwide acclaim, including being played at the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, as well as on American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, World Of Dance and Premier League. The life-affirming song has been streamed more than 11.7 million times on Spotify, and ended up on my list of 100 Best Songs of 2017.
I’ve featured them numerous times on this blog, most recently in March 2020 when I wrote about their single “Savages”. (You can check out some of those reviews under “Related” at the bottom of this post.) Now they return with their latest single “Faded Purple White Trash Royal“, a powerful, socially-relevant song that addresses the self-destructive aspect of pursuing success and/or material things at all costs and how it often leads to always wanting more, yet never feeling satisfied. In an interview with webzine StarryMag, the brothers elaborated about their inspiration for writing the song: “We had been talking about what ambition had cost us personally and what it can cost people trying to always get ahead. It can be a never-ending cycle. Oftentimes, leading to a dark side of ambition which we address. In the chorus we talk about ‘guns, money, sex, drugs’ and how ‘we want it all till the darkside breaks us.’ Ambition can be full of lies, excuses, highs and lows and certainly can be feeding your hidden addictions. At the end of the day, we realized that this blind ambition can leave you alone despite everything you achieve.”
The song starts off with Andy’s urgent acoustic guitar riff, then Patrick plaintively laments at a rapid pace “Even on my very best I’m faded purple white trash royal. I needed you to fill me up and keep me on the dotted line. Now every word is murder and I’m stuck here feeling dead inside.” The music builds to become a stirring anthem in the choruses, thanks in large part to Doug’s forceful drumming and the guys’ soaring harmonies as they all sing “Guns, money, sex, drugs…We want it all. Dirty hearts are dangerous. We want it all till the dark side breaks us.” It’s another terrific song by these talented brothers.