By Al Kaufman
For all intents and purposes, Colour Revolt should no longer be a band. In the last year they lost their recording contract with Fat Possum, then lost their guitarist, bass player and drummer. But Jesse Coppenbarger and Sean Kirkpatrick, (both vocalists, guitarists and keyboardists) soldiered on. They signed on keyboardist Brooks Tipton and just released The Cradle on their own label, New Fear, which they started after receiving donations from fans. For the CD they hired drummer Daniel Davison (from the band Norma Jean) and former Whigs bassist Hank Sullivan (who also produced the CD) to round out their sound.
Despite the need for outside influence, the end result stills feels like it was made by a tight knit band. Colour Revolt sounds like a slightly less spasmodic Spoon mixed with psychedelic classic rock stylings of Moody Blues. The opening number, “8 Years,” tells of the tortured past of the band. Coppenbarger spits out lyrics in front of a guitar-fueled, garage beat. He sings of happy, sad, and strange times, but he mostly spews off angst when he talks of a man who shot his own dick off or watching lesbians. It is an aggressive, angry, but ultimately fun track. While Coppenbarger and the band realize that “one man’s limo is another man’s hearse,” they are not ready to die just yet.
The rest of the CD is unable to maintain the fierce passion of “8 Years,” but offers some shimmering melodies and beautiful imagery, like on their first single, “Our Names.” While their southern garage style is still prevalent on songs such as “Heartbeat” and “Mona Lisa,” quieter moments, as on “Everything Is the Same” and “Each Works,” make up the bulk of their sophomore CD. It’s angst without whining, if only because Colour Revolt remember that if you put a pretty melody behind it, it goes down better.
“She Don’t Talk” is a gem. It begins with big guitar riffs and screaming lyrics, but gives way until it transposes into what sounds to be an homage to Patti Smith.
Like their last release, Plunder, Beg, and Curse, The Cradle was recorded live-to-tape. All their passion, feelings, frustrations and joys were transferred straight onto the CD, without any sort of filter. They ruminate on their past and their future, of loves lost and loves yet to be. And they do so while remembering that nobody wants to hear your problems unless they sound interesting. With their textured keyboard and guitar sounds, and Davison’s understated drums, Colour Revolt ensure that people will listen.