A lot has changed since Coloured Animal released their powerful self-titled debut in 2011. Babies were born, hernias were repaired, tears were shed, patience was tested, beers were swallowed, and wisdom was gained. Most potent of these changes was the departure of a founding member, leaving behind Fred Donaldson, Kevin Gregoire, Matt Perkins, and Greg Reimer to sort through the rubble and rebuild a smaller, leaner, yet stronger beast.

Left Behind is a title that can be interpreted in many ways, nearly all of which would be accurate. This acoustic rock EP is a departure from the heavy guitars and thundering drums of the band’s debut. Entire instruments have been left behind in favour of simpler, airier arrangements and a stronger focus on vocals. Essentially, the four remaining members have left behind their ideas and pre-conceptions of what Coloured Animal was, keeping only their drive to craft good, meaningful songs.

Yet there is still a great deal that the band has held onto, and much more that they’ve gained. The clever lyrics and heartfelt performances are stronger here than ever. The attention to detail that has been a Coloured Animal hallmark is evident on all four tracks. The band opted to record, mix and produce this EP entirely themselves as a sort of proof of concept of just how much they could accomplish on their own. The result is honest, passionate, and unfiltered.

Left Behind features two acoustic re-workings of songs from the self-titled debut, and two brand new songs. These aren’t just quieter covers of rock songs; the arrangements were geared specifically for the acoustic genre, and new life has been breathed into “Believe” and “S.L.P.F.”. The old favourites sit nicely with newcomers “Best I Can” and the title track, and as a whole the EP is more than the sum of its parts.