Saturday, 31 March 2012

Colm - "45"

Colm originated from Fontenay aux Roses, France.
They played a blend of twee pop, post-punk, noise pop, and alternative rock.
Existing in the early part of the 1990s, the band released this EP - "45" - in 1992, and their only LP - "(Serum)" - in 1994, shortly before disbanding.
The music showcased on this EP is clearly that of avid music fans; crafted, honed, honest.
Singer Daniel Dauxerre spent his working hours behind the Paris counter of Rough Trade, which only helps to reinforce the afforementioned claim.
Above all else, this is a record by those who love records.

The opening track, "Starchild", greets the listener with the kind of noise associated with My Bloody Valentine (whose drummer coincidentally shares the same name as this band, though I doubt remotely related), before giving way to a riff closer to foot-tapping than shoe-gazing. The soft and comely vocals here seem reminiscent of lighter Dinosaur Jr. tracks - specifically when Lou takes the reins - and delivers the same power in it's catchy and playful hooks.
Swirling, encompassing, and ever so slightly jangly guitar licks dominate the outro of this song - offering a perfect composition of noise and pop.

"When I Was a Bird" follows quietly in the footsteps of the previous song. Dominated by a light whisper of vocals atop lurking, lurching, and muted guitars - this track revels in the glory of the loud//quiet dynamic.
The song relies heavily on the cooing repetition of it's own title, before ushering into the jarring line "When I was a bird/ I saw, and felt, everything so right/ I tasted the sugar of your life"; as the final word of that verse is spoken, the namesake lyrics are again repeated, this time above a roaring rise in thunderous drums, which breaks prematurely into the most rewarding of guitar hooks.

Track three, "Never Smile", opens with the ever-present swirling guitars, similar to Sonic Youth's signature sound. Buried vocals are what sells this song, with ripping drums and post-punk influenced guitar work taking the lead.
A short break down showcases just how much influence the band has amalgamated into their style, as we are presented with something much closer to Southern Death Cult than Sub Pop. The guitars then give way into a verse reminiscent of a jangling Joy Division, before lapsing back into their patented hiss of noise hooks.

"Orange to Green", the records closing song, clocks in at 7 minutes 21 seconds - and rewards us with a drawn out and realised explosion of shoegazing and noise rock.
Easily the heaviest and most dense track on the EP, the band shows one last triumphant flare of piss and vigor, amongst the soft lullabies of pop and post-punk.
A suited finisher to a sonically soothing experience.

It's not often you stumble across a little known band with such a remarkable sound; that you know, given the right chances, could've been huge. Colm are exactly that.
They have just the right amount of fermenting feedback to satisfy the most fervent of underground fans, and couple it so passionately with calming pop sensibilities - harkening as far back as "Pet Sounds".
Yet, they have become victim to the passing of time, and are ghost-like with their presence.
For those who love their music to subdue and suffocate, this is unmissable.


- Thom.

1 comment:

  1. I have owned Colm's album "serum" since the early nineties, and only just discovered they had an EP too !

    A fine band, Dinosaur Jr meets the Cure with a French accented singer. Good stuff (Y)