Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cold Showers : "Matter of Choice"

Five years later and the California band Cold Shower continues to polish their dark dream like sound. Rather follow all the other Joy Division imitators they pull from a wider range of influences. You can hear elements of Jesus and the Mary Chain, the Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen lurking in the shadows. They use synths in a manner that while  they are a prime ingredient and often  prominent in the mix, it never comes across as being over indulgent . This is balanced out with the guitar and vocals in a way enabling them  even in their starkest passages to never push this to the point of becoming  melodramatic club oriented dark wave. There is a more aggressive electronic pulse to "Only Human".   Which carries a groove that propels the song into the slow build it throbs on.Lyrical they explore the frailties of human interaction rather than really moping about. The often dead pan vocal delivery narrates this  in a cold detached perspective.The only similarity I can hear to Joy Division is in the bleak tension that manage to drone on. As the guitar balances out the synths on "Plant Life " it  serves as a prime example of how they are able propel even some of their dance floor oriented moments with a more post-punk intensity, discarding all the flowery drama that Robert Smith would so lovingly bestow upon them. But they are not about the make up and carry  more of  a wearing sunglasses at the back of the smoky club vibe.

"Crowds" carries more of rock tautness that bands like Joy Division excelled at . The vocals give the song more movement that Curtis more narrated delivery. The guitar echoes with a western re-verb. The "heaven can wait" takes them into the 80s with a similar nostalgic flair that War on Drugs employs. There is a lush no wave pulse to "Whatever You Want" that recalls Gary Numan. It becomes unintentional pop with a wink to the 80s. On the song "Cease Fire" they take their stab at a club song , tackles it in a manner like the Cure, where it happens on their own terms. The bass line drives "Undone" as the singer declares that he is never coming down. They close out the album with a "redux" of "Crowds" . This is not just a remake , but an entirely different take on the song as sax simmers out of the dense shadows this one is haunted by. If David Lynch ever needs another song for a seedy bar scene this is the one he should go for.

I get drawn back in with more listens . This album has just the right cynical indifference in its cold attitude to give it a personality that sets them aside from their peers in the post- punk revival and even makes me hesitant to reference them along side of that, since these guys have enough of their own thing going on better fans of anyone from Interpol to Night Sins to War On Drugs can find something to latch onto here.

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