12 November 2015
Cold Sweats - Social Coma
I am trying to figure out where I found the name Cold Sweats.... Whilst going through my list of albums to review, I found their name and their album 'Social Coma' in my list. I have checked my emails, recent magazines I have reviewed, various music websites and forums that I visit - cannot find a thing. This is not to say that the band do not have a presences at the moment, they are currently on tour in their native land of America, they are playing shows with the might Pile and this album has just been released this week. But this was set up a few weeks ago and I cannot find my origins for looking into them, apart from that great cover which we see above these words. Now regular readers of this page will know I like to do something called 'Cover Roulette'; the aim is the same as when people used to go to a record shop and purchase an album based on the cover alone, this can be a great way of finding bands that you know little about. Once I saw the cover on 7 November whilst trying to figure out where I had found the band, I came to the conclusion that it must have been that which made me set up the review - but I am at a loss to where I found it in the first instance. Anyway, a brief background to the band - Cold Sweats are from New York, New York in the USA. The band consist of Alex Craver on drums/vocals, Peter Ives on guitar/vocals and Brandon Musa on bass/vocals. The blurb on their Bandcamp page states that this album was recorded in abandoned area of Binghamton, which is home to Twilight Zone creator Rod Sterling and that the album was produced with Hunter Davidsohn (that is how it is spelt on their Bandcamp before Luke edits me - check it out). Now before I start the review I want to go back to something else that I mentioned before, the fact that they are touring with Pile is a good sign as I loved their record - will history repeat itself here.....
"The Business" is the first song which has a slow, brooding swagger and a drum pounding that powers a low slung bass line and some fierce guitar work as they drive this moody opening along. It is not an explosion of an opening, but it is an interesting opening that reminds me of Whores, the Melvins, Mudhoney and Afghan Whigs in style & power. "Coney Island Cops" is a next and is a spiky power punk trio number that bashes around your brain as it kicks your ass from left to right in a brief forty one seconds that it is alive in the world, it is a great short, sharp, kick in the head that grabs your attention in a way that early punk and some Napalm Death numbers can do to the listener. The third track is called "Waste of a Day" and it has a cocky rock feel to this song, the bass is heavier than a slab of concrete hitting your back and linchpins this song as the guitars are given space to create haunting noise and blasting riffs that make take the listener on a trip that sounds like a surfing tune that has gone wrong. With a dark tone to the music it keeps is all about the attack and it sounds glorious, with a harsh noise to it that I have not heard since the might Compulsion existed. "Trouble Every Day" is the next song and it is in and out the door after it has kicked over the table, stolen your money, significant other and pet before you can even register what the hell is going on. It is a pounding short, sharp burst of rock 'n' roll, mixed with punk and a piece of surfer rock as well in the guitar tone and it works really well and does not give you a change to lose interest. It is also one of those songs that you want to put back on straight away - brilliant.
"Hater Failure" is a slow slung number that keeps up that hard-edge feel to the album, it is another number that bring to mind Compulsion for some reason; I think it is the slower edge to the song and those strong lyrics that are laid to another song which keeps the listener engaged. The more you play it, you are given more back as it keeps on delivering those highs that came from the first listen (well, it does for me at least). After this we have the title track "Social Coma" and there is a hardcore blast in the middle of this that smashes into the listener every now and then, with the sludge verses, rumbling drums & bass, mixed into with the guitar tone that sounds like Ren & Stimpy have made a band and stopped being so silly - it is an explosion of noise that I have always found enjoyable and it is easy to see why they made this the title track - it is really good. "Mock Me Gentle" is a slow number, keeping things mixed up with a pounding drum beat that pushes this self-mocking song along with a great performance. It is one of the longer tracks of the album and when you’re saying a three minute plus song is long, you kind of know what type of record you are getting. There is some parts that sound fragile and others that sound like they could demolish the place where you are reading this number - one of the top songs of the album! "Valor in Vain" is a great number, fast pace and an adrenaline shot in this already storming album - it comes along at the right moment and shows there is more going on here than it might seem on the surface as they smash through your speaker with such force that you kind of loss your balance and just want to mosh around. BTW - at the time of writing, for some reason the Spotify version of the album has "Mock Me Gentle" playing twice (once under its own name and once under "Valor in Vain" - hopefully it will be fixed soon).
"Souvenir" is created in feedback and has a loose feel to it as it goes between quiet, fast and sludge all done in under three minutes and also done with a sense of confidence and style that is only brought when you are playing out of your skins. If pushed it would be the song on the album which I would play the least, but that is not saying it is not a good song; it is another song which I really like, but there is always gonna be a song that is not a popular as the others. "Problem Kids" rumbles into life and sounds like the cowboys are coming back into town with a new attitude and they are out to cause more trouble. I like this aspect of the band, it is their strongest card when they are being moodier and backing the lyrics with a rumbling statement. It does not waste any time and you are wanting to play it again once it is finished, I think cover roulette has found another gem here. The penultimate song of the record is called "Hive Mind" and it sounds like a surf punk nightmare on a drug fuelled trip towards Bat Country (Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas style). Under two minutes, rambling and sounding like it could take on the world, the band has made a song that could have really ended the album as it is pounding number that sounds like an explosive cocktail of noise. But it does not end the album, this honour is given to the four minute plus "Coward in a War" which is haunting. Starting with a reverb and a harrowing vocal about being torn apart from the inside by a loved one and how they are responsible for this by being a coward. It is a harsh song, very much based around the vocals and words that fill the spaces that are created by the absence of the music which has infused the rest of the album. It is a quality ending to this album and is perfectly placed to guide the listener home.
Cover roulette has brought up another winner here! This is twenty nine minutes of quality punk noise that gives more than it takes. It is a brilliant album that should hopefully lead onto bigger and better things for the New York natives, it is one of those records which is best heard than explained so I will make this very brief - it is a great album and you should purchase it now! End of review, why have you not purchased it yet?
9 out of ten - Almost perfect, almost....
Top track - Mock Me Gentle
You can purchase the digital version of Social Coma from Amazon here
You can visit the Cold Sweats website here
You can follow Cold Sweats activities here on Facebook here
You can purchase Social Coma from their Bandcamp page here
You can stream Social Coma on Spotify here
You can stream Social Coma on Deezer here
You can stream Social Coma on Tidal here
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