At first glance, it’s easy to assume the only message Breathers care about communicating involves dancing and partying, but “Colony of Taste” infuses their neon pop sound with dystopian gloom. The prophetic track was borne from singer and songwriter Lee Gunselman’s concern over urban development and his understanding of the inherent complicity of artists and musicians in fueling the gentrification of Atlanta.
It’s a heady topic, but he confronts it with snarky lyrics that work as a foil to the band’s synthetic schmaltz. The breathless pace of “Colony of Taste” is more claustrophobic than most of Breathers’ previous material, but it’s still built on gorgeous harmonies and hooks that pulse with futuristic soul.
You could be forgiven for begrudging the preachy nature of the track if it wasn’t for the remarkably prescient subject matter. From the lack of affordable housing along the Beltline, to the removal of residents in Peoplestown, and the endless flood of mixed-use development, Atlanta is in the midst of war over its identity and in 2017 even an oddball synthpop band has to carry the banner against gentrification.
“Colony of Taste” is the B-side to an upcoming split with the Patient (Robert Schneider and Will Cullen Hart of Elephant 6, The Apples in Stereo, and Olivia Tremor Control) to be released via Chunklet.
Breathers will perform tonight at 529 alongside Sound of Ceres, Robert Schneider, and Mannequin Lover. Doors open at 10 p.m. Admission is $8. 21+ to enter.