A Time Imagination Forgot to Inspire
THERE are some mixed emotions hanging in the balance at the moment...
With Valentine’s Day here- in itself a mixed affair that is divisive to the extreme- I am hearing some sad news in the music world. In addition to great bands calling it time- it is always heartbreaking to hear that- Viola Beach (a very talented ban primed for the big time) were involved in a serious accident- unfortunately all their members lost their lives. It seems like an odd/harrowing subject to raise in a review: It just goes to show how unpredictable and unfair music/life can be. My actual point is- taking it away from the realms of the morbid- is highlighting great bands and how we should cherish them. Aside from the ill-fated and upset surrounding Viola Beach; they were one of the last new bands that really excited me. The Warrington-based lads set ablaze venues and fans with their kinship and tightness: Musicians that enthralled people with ease and left huge smiles on faces. While their music and legacy will remain- let’s do our best to spread their magic- it has made me appreciate music more and not taking so much for granted. I have been on a downer when it comes to bands- and how variable the quality can be- there are some phenomenal young artists emerging. Whilst I have grown a little fatigued of Alternative/Indie bands- too many acts blurring into one- there are those on the fringes that are impressing and originating. It is brilliant to discover a young act with so much potential and verve to them. Before I come to my featured act- and what they are all about- it is worth mentioning young bands playing at the moment; the genre of Post-Hardcore- completing with a word about changing the face of mainstream music. It is always exciting discovering a young band that is just starting out and on the precipice of something great. Music is such a challenging and unpredictable mistress when you think about it: So many terrific bands can fail whilst lesser examples flourish and prosper. I feel there is perhaps too much reliance on finding a particular type of band. There is very little chance for the more original and diverse bands to get a chance to shine in mainstream festivals. With the likes of Foo Fighters, U2 and Coldplay hogging the limelight- you can predict Glastonbury’s lineup before it’s even announced- I feel like a shake-up needs to occur. The solo artists of music are gaining kudos from reputable, mainstream sources- such as B.B.C. - and it seems like a lot of bands are being overlooked right now. Maybe there is a trend towards solo acts and a push away from bands. I have heard a lot of people bandy about phrases such as “Rock is dead” and “Bands are getting worse these days”: There seems to be a feeling the edge and originality is seeping out of the band market. If you go away from the mainstream acts- and those that are pushed in our faces- the skepticism will be removed and you will find a lot of quality. The small venues and lesser-known radio stations are doing their utmost to ensure the smaller bands are getting spotlight- and the attention they richly deserve. Before I continue to new points, let me introduce Cold Summer to you:
Dan Feast - Vocals Chris Harrison - Guitar Chris Hepworth - Bass Guitar Justin Eastwood – Drums
“Collectively, Cold Summer are an energetic post-hardcore 5-piece from Wakefield / Leeds, writing experimental melodic rock with a twist that is developed through a wide range of influences between them. The end result being music which portrays a bitter sweet ambience with angst and raw passion from their punk and hardcore roots. Formed in late 2011 the band have seen their releases (despite being ‘under the radar’) meet critical acclaim, following the self release of two EP's, 'Transitions' and 'Wake' during 2012 and their ‘Self Titled’ album in July 2013. In addition to this band self booked a tour back in January 2014 to promote the album release as well as heading out in support of He Is Legend on their UK tour in October 2014. The bands strong DIY ethic has been reflected in their relentless show & recording output. These contributing factors has resulted in a large and growing fan base across the North Of England, as a result of playing shows alongside well respected yet diverse bands such as: Funeral For A Friend, Polar, He Is Legend, Self Defense Family, Lemuria, Milk Teeth, Brawlers, Grieved & Employed To Serve The band have completed recording of their follow up release with producer Mike Bennett (Empires Fade, The Eyes Of A Traitor, The Ocean Between Us) which is set for release early in 2016”.
Hardcore and Post-Hardcore are genres (and sub-genre) that you do not hear a lot of in the mainstream. Aside from particular radio shows- Daniel P. Carter’s Sunday show on B.B.C. Radio 1- you do not get a chance to hear the best Hardcore has to offer. I feel a lot of people have that same image in their mind: Hardcore/Post-Hardcore bands will be all screaming and no musicality. If you cast aside the clichés and preconceptions there are plenty of acts that subvert expectations and can really amaze. Sure, there are bands that are very in-your-face and bellicose. Most of the Post-Hardcore bands emerging have necessary nuance, subtlety and accessibility to them. If you look at the best Post-Hardcore bands around- from Silverstein and Of Mice and Men; to Sleeping with Sirens to Pierce the Veil- you have a rich variety of examples. Aside from the fact (the aforementioned peeps) are male-driven- I would like to see more female Post-Hardcore bands get equality and fair measure- there is a sea change in terms of lyrics and themes. While a lot of Post-Hardcore bands hail from the U.S. (Florida seems to be a hotspot) there are some great British examples emerging. Cold Summer are among a wave of hungry young bands that are setting the music scene alight. Post-Hardcore is embracing more positive themes and uplifting ideals. Many people assume- when it comes to Hardcore music- there will be a lot of negativity, isolation and anger. That may be the case with some bands- these are themes that are embraced by many bands- many Post-Hardcore bands are mixing heavier compositions with redemptive and thought-provoking lyrical themes. With Funeral for a Friend calling time- one of the better British Post-Hardcore bands- it is to the new crop for guidance and inspiration. Cold Summer are a band that hail from Yorkshire- a county not exactly shy when it comes to terrific music- and have the potential to transcend borders and limitations. I am getting a little tired of some of the ‘mainstream’ acts coming out right now. Whilst there are some innovative and layered bands showcasing- those unsigned blazers that have much more clout to them- there are still too many weak, vanilla bands being heralded. I am not saying only the loudest/most direct should succeed: There is too much patronage of weak and overly-predictable bands, alas. The festivals and big boys- Reading and Leeds, Glastonbury etc. - are not helping the matter. The mainstream’s most tired/ineffectual bands get top billing; bands that have much more spark to them are further down the bill- appearing on smaller stages whilst gaining much greater plaudit. It would be great to see bands like Cold Summer giving earlier exposure and the chance to share the big stage with some legendary names. I know there are festivals (niche but well-attended) that showcase Post-Hardcore/Hardcore bands; it would be nice to see better integration and diversity at the largest festivals- providing music with greater richness and quality.
If you are a newbie to Cold Summer- I must confess, I was until a week ago- you might be wondering who influenced the Yorkshire clan. The below list (sourced from their Facebook page) gives a good- if rather verbose and expansive- list of influential artists. Showing depth, variation and quality: If you appreciate any of the below, you will find relatable strands within Cold Summer:
Brand New, Thrice, Letlive, Night Verses, Deftones, Architects, Gallows, Queens Of The Stone Age, Cave In, Soundgarden, Poison The Well, Jeff Buckley, Sunny Day Real Estate, Glassjaw, A Perfect Circle, Nine Inch Nails, Converge, Foo Fighters, Husker Du, Tool, Quicksand, Texas Is The Reason, Vaux, Filter, ....And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Russian Circles, Blindside, Rise Against, Norma Jean, Boysetsfire, Alexisonfire, Self Defense Family, La Dispute, Touche Amore, Thursday, Defeater, Deafheaven, Funeral For A Friend, Drug Church, These Arms Are Snakes
A Time Imagination Forgot to Inspire is the latest revelation from a band that has enjoyed a steady rise. The band has been playing for several years and seems to get stronger and more confident by the year. Back in 2012, Wake was release to the public- a five-track E.P. that mixed Punk and Hardcore into one. Waiting opens proceedings with twanging bass and militarism percussion fire. Ramping up the tension, the band unites in a furious and atmospheric introduction- one that has ‘epic’ all over it. Recalling elements of Muse and Guns N’ Roses, our lead looks at “crooked roads” and meeting people that are not the same. Showing some impressive vocal chops- stunning when wracked and pained; passionate and soothing when letting that voice dip- you have a song that shows intentions and huge promise. A is for Arson packs more meaty riffs and Muse-esque riffs that leads to one of the most fast-paced and urgent tracks. That need to change and rebel- the double-edged sword of truth and deceit- in an accessible anthem that packs a great wallop. It is interesting to see some very modern edges- Royal Blood seem to have inadvertently replicated some of Cold Summer’s sound- in songs that sound ageless and ever-relevant.
From their impressive debut; the band expanded their sound on 2013’s Self Titled. While their debut wore some influence on its sleeve- from Funeral for a Friend and Muse; through to Green Day and Queens of the Stone Age- there is more originality on their sophomore effort. The debut melted Queens of the Stone Age’s Desert Rock riffs with some Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) vocals- in a vacuum of Punk/Hardcore seduction. Self Titled included some new tracks- alongside demos and alternative versions of debut-era cuts- that show the progression they made. The Fallen boasts their most head-smashing percussion; wonderfully direct and savage vocals- compositions with more nuance and variety. Bringing in political themes and motivation- that need to get your voice heard and fight- come out brightly. Allowing more melodic/accessible sounds to sit with devil attack: You have an E.P. that reaches its net further and allows those unfamiliar to Post-Hardcore to come in. Ships contains some calm among the storm. Its stop-start dynamic- some calmer strings punctuated by rapturous bursts- sees ships coming to the shore. Loneliness and self-examination are chronicled in a song that sees Cold Summer unveil one of their most accomplished track.
I have heard Cold Summer’s forthcoming E.P., Fight to Survive- one of those smug media types that have rare privilege- and love what I hear. The band is more honed, original and ambitious here. The vocals are less Armstrong-esque and have come along over the past couple of years. The sharp and volume-esque highs are more potent- cutting to the bone like a saw- with new melody and passion brought into the mix. The band is tighter and have gained more discipline and sharpness through touring. The E.P. is a six-track release that shows huge nuance and economy. Coins Fall (But Don’t Make It) has an insane introduction that can blow any speaker off its goddamn stand! The lead vocal has those shades of Billie Joe Armstrong/his peers but less reliant on U.S. influence. Whilst some lyrics get squashed in the mosh- less decipherable than you’d like- there is enough clarity and intelligibility to be found. Coins drop and wishes are attached to them. The song could be related to governments not fulfilling the wishes of the voters; the evilness and corruption that lingers perhaps. Car Crash (in Progress) is an opener that shows the verve and attack that is lacking in a lot of modern acts. High emotions can be found in a song that looks at jealousy and greed. No good intentions pervade: We need to cast aside the self-obsessed age and make a better world. The song mixes the snatches of vitriol- those Hardcore slams- with calm and more reflective phases. A catchy and insatiable composition- if will get every part of the body moving- it shows the band has lost none of their quality and potential. Something, Nothing, No-one ends the E.P. on a natural and stunning high. Political attacks and dissatisfaction is all here and present: Our boys are fired and compelled by the inequity and stupidity that can be found among society. Such leaps have been made in a short amount of time- a band that gets stronger as they go. Make sure you get Fight to Survive when it is released and hear a group that is hitting their stride. A band that is sure to have festival bragging rights in months to come.
A Time Imagination Forgot to Inspire (a cool title that already gets the mind working) sits lower down Fight to Survive- it remains (for me) the key cut from Cold Summer’s latest E.P. I hear a little of Slash’s (Guns N’ Roses) slash-and-burn pyrotechnics in the early moments of A Time’- I half expected the song to go into Appetite for Destruction territory for a moment! Fans of the band will find much to love in the sapling moments of the song; there are new threads that will surprise some listeners too. Right from the off, the listener is braced to attention and you know the band means business. No slow-build or anything kitten-like: The composition has such intensity that soon leads to a vocal packed with direction and conviction. The early exchanges and ideas- “There’s a question burning through my head”- regarding the death of imagination split my interpretations between political dissatisfaction and something more personal. On the one hand, here is a band who have always been concerned with justice and equality: Their songs look at political imbalance and corruption that stinks society up. The earliest words got me thinking about those themes: The Conservative government are not speaking for the U.K.; U.S. politicians and their ills etc. We all congratulate and praise- again, maybe leveled at elected politicians- but no difference can be seen. On the other hand, perhaps there is a little shout-out to musicians and their lack of innovation. We celebrate and champion artists all the time: How often do these musicians provide anything new and wonderful when you think about it? That open-for-speculation start got me thinking and I was fully invested in the song. Enthralled by the band’s committed and disciplined performance- it does not explode or wander at all- those duel theories keep playing and poking. Our man is “not seeing a change”- his country suffers the same problems; maybe musicians do not expand the mind- and you can tell just how meaningful those words are. The dissatisfaction and annoyance is palpable in a vocal that threatens to explode in anger- harrowed and wound-up by realisations and hard truths. Fans of Cold Summer will find familiarity in the song- there are still those Punk vocals and similar compositional dynamics- whilst the themes of politics and imbalance find new meaning and force here (they are stronger and more galvanised than on previous releases). With bands like Funeral for a Friend dissipated- other Hardcore band starting to feel pressure- it is encouraging to see an eager young band with no intentions of submission or slowing. Books sit on tables- with pages “torn away”- and you get a real insight into a band that likes to do things differently. Whilst there are some strands of Green Day’s American Idiot- a British version perhaps- the lyrics still leave me guessing as to their true nature. The band has certainly upped the ante and come up with a song that builds on their strengths. The unrest and dissatisfaction they- annoyed and appalled by misrepresentations and corruption- is much more subtle and disciplined than other bands.
The guys have managed to mix melody and something accessible with plenty of passion and force. Having toured extensively- and a couple of E.P.s under their belts already- you have the strongest statement from a group who never disappoint. A Time Imagination Forgot to Inspire could easily look at (perhaps, subconsciously) lack of musical firepower and bliss. At face-value- and how I see things at least- there is social unrest being appropriated. Cycles go on- as the band themselves claim- and no changes are ever made. No matter who we elect and what happens in the world: There is never any real improvement or anything different occurring. That quiet/loud/intense/controlled dynamic can be heard here. Whatever we do and whoever speaks for us- whether a popular choice or not- seems to fall short of the mark. The boys manage to unleash a composition that stops and stutters: Catchy moments and joyous little kicks give it an additional spark that is sure to appeal to the live crowds. On that point, the song is one that can be chanted and will get the throngs uplifted and moving. The lyrics look at disbelief and confusion- not sure what to believe and what is true- and this central figure (whether a P.M. or personal figure) less-than-idealised and appealing. This rhapsody-against-disappointment mandate is not often heard in the mainstream- left often to the more niche genres/musicians- so it is nice to hear a song that deals with weightier topics have such potential. It is not a song that is reserved for the Hardcore/Post-Hardcore/Punk crowds: The track could find its way across mainstream stations- probably B.B.C. Radio 6 Music- and appeal to their listeners. The final moments repeat that core statement- “I don’t see anything new”- and reinforce that anger and dissatisfaction. The lads slam and strike to the end and ensure their song gets inside the head- without ramming it down your throats. Coming away from the song- and evaluating it in silence and reflection- it takes several listens to get the full meaning and have an understanding. I still think about political ideas; there are possibilities of personal relations- a friend or sweetheart breaking promises- and musical imbalance and false ideals. I am pleased Cold Summer have such a firecracker on their hands. Some bands in their position- that feel the need to change and alter their sound- have developed natural evolution whilst keeping their core intact. Those blitzkrieg vocal explosions and calmer moments- the boys mix melody and overt together- still can be seen; they have new lease and inspiration. What you have- that may have been missing in previous releases- is more originality and more honed songs. The tight and kinetic performance (displayed best on A Time Imagination Forgot to Inspire) is matched with intention, focus and new musical influences- new and upcoming kings of Punk-cum-Hardcore make their way in. What the Yorkshire fellas do it embrace their own voices more- whilst keeping some influences in play- and are much stronger for it. A wonderful insight into their upcoming E.P.- the single is not released for a few days- make sure you get the song when it comes out.
I always love when bands come to me looking for a review. Ordinarily, it may not have been easy discovering them- what with the mass of acts coming through; social media and its limitations- so it is great coming across Cold Summer. My usual exposure to Post-Hardcore has been through stations like Radio 1. Whilst key to championing the genre; there are genuinely worthy bands that have escaped their radar. Inspired by a wide range of acts- from Russian Circles to Deftones- you have a Yorkshire band with a bright and prosperous future. I have may have started the review with a rather downbeat and haunted subject- just a shock to see a young act taken too soon- but it is meant as a parable against those who overlook great acts. I yearn for the day we see radio stations emerge- magazines and publications- that give more weight to bands (that would otherwise) find regard in smaller circles. Too much focus and attention is being paid to some insincere and fly-by-night bands that do not leave impressions in the mind. For the music fan that requires intelligence, directness and depth: Where do you go to get your fix? It may be a quandary that has no easy answer- or will take a long time to rectify- but for now, it has been great seeing what Cold Summer is all about. We need to support the best young bands around and ensure they get the support they require. I have seen too many groups capitulate and struggle through lack of donation and airplay. Maybe there is over-saturation that is causing detriment to some wonderful acts. Cold Summer are getting attention in Yorkshire and the U.K.: I feel they have the type of sound that can reach the U.S., for sure. With some like-minded Post-Hardcore bands doing good business in the U.S. - Florida, as mentioned, is a natural house- I can see the boys gigging across the pond and enthralling the American crowds. Whether this happens in years or months- the latter seems like a real proposition- it will be exciting to follow the plight of one of our most exciting bands. I have never been a loyal acolyte of Hardcore and Post-Hardcore bands in general terms. Too many examples play with force yet lack direction, originality and reputability. Too direct and angered to create necessary nuance and dimension; the wave of Post-Hardcore bands seem a lot more ripe and receptive. Themes are starting to shift to positive oeuvres- although Cold Summer feature songs of isolation and anxiety- and more people are embracing the genre. That is not to say Post-Hardcore bands are selling-out- dampening down their potency and replacing ethanol with soya milk- but they are showing more heart and control. There are still the pure and explosive bands- that give voice to those that feel alone and isolated- but it is nice to discover acts that are brave enough to show some layers and depth. Cold Summer’s forthcoming track mixes all the things I love about music is one place. There is that core of guttural and stomach-kicking sound: Compositions that evoke serious head-swinging and feet-stomping. The lyrics mix relatable and everyday concerns- dissatisfaction and heartaches- with personal insight and something more oblique. So where do Cold Summer fit into the Hardcore scene? Well, they are more than the genre’s history would suggest.
There are still the pure and explosive bands- that give voice to those that feel alone and isolated- but it is nice to discover acts that are brave enough to show some layers and depth. Cold Summer’s forthcoming track mixes all the things I love about music is one place. There is that core of guttural and stomach-kicking sound: Compositions that evoke serious head-swinging and feet-stomping. The lyrics mix relatable and everyday concerns- dissatisfaction and heartaches- with personal insight and something more oblique. So where do Cold Summer fit into the Hardcore scene? Well, they are more than the genre’s history would suggest. With a lot of their peers focusing on overt anger- without any intelligence or meaning- we have a band that is more political and socially-driven. The upcoming E.P. Fight to Survive has a title that leaves little to the imagination. What you get are songs that show fight and the need to survive against oppression and governmental control. With so much greed, corruption and naivety in government- not just our Conservative ‘leader’; the wider political spectrum- it is apt to find an act that is saying what we all think. Megalomaniac monsters like Donald Trump- a caricature that seems to become more cartoon-villain-in-a-suit by the moment- there is a lot of fear and disgust among the population. Balkanised against politicians that do not represent the masses- their own agendas enforce questionable decisions- some great bands are electioneering with a much more attractive manifesto. When I was guessing which acts will headline Glastonbury; rather predictable and depressing names come to mind. Foo Fighters and Muse are speculated and tipped. How rebellious and original of the Eavis’! With the more appropriate acts- Radiohead, Blur and Gun N’ Roses- given longer odds, you have to wonder whether these festivals represent the diversity and quality in music. Ed Sheeran and Adele are also mooted- they have their fans but plenty of detractors (me for one)- and Glastonbury is losing its grit and influence. It is not good having the same-old acts topping the bills- why not give a shot to upcoming, younger acts? Who knows, but what I do know, is there are some tremendous artists emerging that deserve a bigger stage. Cold Summer drop A Time Imagination Forgot to Inspire very soon- their E.P. will follow shortly after- and it is another confident step from one of our most direct and developed bands. That blend of Punk and melody fuses in a bonfire of explosive vocals and dissatisfied lyrics. For those seeking cobweb-vanquishing sounds- that blow the senses wide open- cast your gaze…
TO a band that speak for us all.
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