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EP Review: Proximity Effect by Colin Onderdonk

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Proximity Effect by Colin OnderdonkProximity Effect by Colin Onderdonk.

Hailing from the suburbs of Dallas, TX,  a relationship with God has always been a central part of Christian folk artist Colin Onderdonk‘s life. Combining his experience as a worship leader with a deep love of music, singer-songwriter Onderdonk set his faith to sound with a mission to “make the world a better place, one song at a time.” His six track debut EP, Proximity Effect, is available now. 

At first glance, the title of the EP seems clear. But Onderdonk‘s interpretation immediately gives you a glimpse into a maturity beyond his 18 years when he explains the meaning behind the Proximity Effect. “As people get closer to God along their spiritual journeys, the more they feel connected.” That very feeling of connectedness shines through on the opener, “Prologue.” Through the creative use of pure instrumentation, Onderdonk makes you feel as though you are at the genesis of something special. As the track moves from simple acoustic guitar progressions to more aggressive playing alongside other sounds, it is as if something is coming alive. This sort of sonic birth is the perfect track to introduce Onderdonk’s style and message before kicking things off with “Tidal Bomb.”

A blues based track, “Tidal Bomb” is an explosion of sound. Utilizing several different instruments including the violin, acoustic and electric guitars along with percussion, Onderdonk manages to give this song an orchestral vibe. His distinct baritone, if almost bass level vocals are both unsettling and comforting as he reassures us that “We are not alone” before moving into my favorite track on this release, “Walls.” Highly spiritual and having more of a contemporary adult feel to it, “Walls” again use s an eclectic mix of instruments including strings, drums, guitars, and piano to offer a very complete sound to compliment lyrics such as “Take me from the gray/Paint these walls with color today.”

The mid-point of Proximity Effect takes a slightly darker tone with “Savior’s Hand.” Onderdonk does a good job of creating an ominous initial feel with his vocal delivery. It is a deeply profound look at one soul’s desperation at certain points and the personal salvation that can be achieved when they accept God into their lives. “I had met with fate/Prepared the end and set the scene /But he rewrote the finale/And I was made clean…I’m in the hand of my savior/Looking though the holes.” Onderdonk changes things up on “Foreign Home.” Picking up the tempo on this track that suggests looking beyond transient, face value beauty in favor of something more meaningful, “Foreign Home” also has nice guitar work throughout. Proximity Effect wraps with the ethereal title track dedicated to Onderdonk’s close relationship with his creator who has been a constant source of support during many of life’s storms. There is some truly beautiful mid-song string work which simulates being lifted up or having one’s problems simply swept away by a higher power.

With influences such as Kendrick Lamar, Marcus Mumford, John Steinbeck and the Cohen brothers, Onderdonk’s writing is sophisticated and thought provoking while maintaining modern appeal. Musically, Onderdonk possesses a sound that falls somewhere between Jack Johnson and Neutral Milk Hotel. Overall, Proximity Effect is a solid debut effort by a young artist who can only grow in his potential. If you’re a fan of folk, Christian or the adult contemporary genres,  you are bound to find something you like in Colin Onderdonk so give it a listen and let us know what you think.

Keep up with Colin Onderdonk at the following links:

Website | @theColinoc