Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Cradle - Colour Revolt

The Cradle

Colour Revolt
Dualtone Records.

SCQ Rating: 58%

A superficial spin of Colour Revolt’s new record The Cradle will leave an impression on you but, chances are, it’ll be an ill-conceived one. Trust me, I discovered this after hearing ‘Our Names’ and relating their layered, semi-spooky indie-rock to Grizzly Bear’s edgier moments. That opinion hasn’t changed; in fact ‘Our Names’ has all the melody and added grit that Veckatimest seemed so bashful about. Yet my impression hadn’t considered the possibility that the songs surrounding that highlight might borrow more from hard-rock in both its electric riff-age and the band’s testosterone-tinged lyricism. So is it a metal-influenced folk record, then? At the risk of making another erroneous assumption, I’ll say no.

‘8 Years’ opens with pounding drums and tight chords undercut by Jesse Coppenbarger’s torn-to-pieces voice and, for a moment, I had to check whether The Cradle came out via Vagrant Records. Between that first shot of adrenaline and the metal arpeggios that punch up ‘Heartbeat’, one can hardly be blamed for considering Colour Revolt too hardcore for indie-rock. Sounding nearly as grizzled as Bob Mould, Coppenbarger (alongside Sean Kirkpatrick, the two founding members remaining) seethes over sharp guitars and reflective atmospheres, offering serviceable range in bar-room rocker (‘She Don’t Talk’) and the after-hours lament (‘Everything Is the Same’). Few of these cuts register as anything beyond a change-up for variety’s sake, except for ‘Each Works’; a track that, like ‘Our Names’, dunks their riff-heavy foreboding into pools of textured keyboards.

Their playfulness with genre, tripping between hard-rock scapegoats and proggy flourishes, ends up far more interesting than their stunted emotional scope. What began as a puzzling filter of influences disassembles by The Cradle’s final third with the regrettable 90s radio-rock of ‘Mona Lisa’. Colour Revolt have the blueprints to create something original and special, there’s no doubting it, but The Cradle squanders the trust we listeners put forward. An unstable effort from a promising band.

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