There’s always a danger, when an LP has been hyped and talked about for months, for severe disappointment and, as a music/vinyl junkie, that disappointment can cut like a knife….so it was with great excitement and no small amount of trepidation that I placed ‘In Black And Gold’ on the turntable . After the last note of the last track finished I soundly slapped myself in the face for being a pessimistic naysayer – this LP rocks!!
There is a proviso to that however….anyone expecting the Melvins/Jesus Lizard/NIN industrial sludge of their last LP ‘Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo’ may have the odd twinge of ‘eh?’ but entering into a relationship with ‘In Black And Gold’ with an open mind is a joyous experience.
Hey Colossus have been plying their trade for a fair while now and have become a bit of an institution in the noise scene…..instruments have been used and abused and the old Spinal Tap cliché of ‘it goes up to 11’ has always seemed apropos. ‘In Black And Gold’ is a more subtle beast…don’t get me wrong, the power is still there but has been joined by a more thoughtful aspect (like a band of jocks finding books – no offence meant guys!).
Case in point…the opener , ‘Hold On’ starts with some almost ambient electronic noodling, a bit like an early Orb outing before some gentle vocals entreat us to ” hold on tight” , luckily there is an underlying dissonance to the track to stop it from becoming sickly. Then comes ‘Sisters And Brothers’, a track that has been doing the rounds for a while and is frankly a classic! It exudes power but with some restraint….a simple riff over a throbbing bassline and some swirling electronic s. It’s pull lies in the repetition of the refrain. ‘ Hey, Dead Eyes. Up!’ is probably my fave on the LP, the psych-like intro guitar leading into a heavy noise workout that harks back to the bands previous work..would not sound out of place on ‘Amphetamine Reptile’ !. ‘Wired Brainless’ closes side one of the LP. Drums and bass to the fore on a very post-punk sounding track – Ian Curtis vocals and some Gang Of Four guitar stabs.
Side 2 kicks off with ‘Black and Gold’ which alternates between passages of sumptuous heaviness and delicate guitar work with some vocals that could have been lifted from a Nick Cave album. It eventually settles into a very noisy krautrock sounding affair. ‘Lagos Atom’ begins with acoustic guitar (that reminded of Bowie’s early ‘Space Oddity’ LP stuff for some reason!) before muffled, treated vocals and more electronic trickery subvert the track into a more experimental track – like Severed Heads with acoustic guitar. It is the longest track on the LP with some very disparate elements making it certainly the most interesting. ‘Eat It’ is another heavier track with some fuzz and some….gulp…nu-metal pseudo rapping. It’s the music that rescues the track..the drums doing overtime and some wonderful chiming guitars and the ever-present electronic effects keeping the listeners attention. ‘Sinking, Feeling’ with it’s ‘Slipping beneath the water’s edge’ refrain and it’s slow, almost dirge-like guitars and drums has an ominous, dread-filled feel to it that matches the realisation that the LP is about to finish.
With ‘In Black And Gold’ Hey Colossus have produced an LP of infinite depth and enjoyment…at times it is not an easy listen, but nothing good in this world is ever easy is it? But there are also moments of pure joy at listening to a band that have reached their nadir. The downside is…how are they going to top this? Over to you guys!
‘In Black And Gold’ is available from Rocket Recordings.