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Colossal - Welcome The Problems (Cover Artwork)

Colossal

Colossal: Welcome The ProblemsWelcome The Problems (2004)
Asian Man Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
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Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
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Every serious music lover needs to own this album, period. Making me proud to be from Chicago, Colossal finally grace us with a full length after their self-titled EP had us all drooling for more. Sure, Mike Kinsella beat them to the punch combining jazz-tone guitars weaving intricate lines with t.
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Every serious music lover needs to own this album, period. Making me proud to be from Chicago, Colossal finally grace us with a full length after their self-titled EP had us all drooling for more. Sure, Mike Kinsella beat them to the punch combining jazz-tone guitars weaving intricate lines with trumpet over top, but now Colossal have perfected the sound and are making it rock harder. American Football's biggest problems were: 1- they were a studio band, and 2- they didn't last long. Colossal is alone with this style these days and is rocking it onstage, and their sound is such a relief from all the over-fuzzed, over-screamed stuff out there now. It's a sound they do oh so well.

Pat Ford is still showing us that a guy with a low voice can lead a loud rock band all while he noodles effortlessly on guitar. Jason Flaks still does it all from his guitar prowess, his occasional higher vocals sounding a bit like the Get Up Kids' Matt Pryor, and his smooth jazzy trumpet licks. Rob Kellenberger (need I remind you he's previously of Slapstick and Tuesday and currently Duvall) is still behind the drumset, playing with finesse and power. Joining him on the album are other drummers Scott Adamson of Abilene (formerly of Joan of Arc and Chisel Drill Hammer), and Neil Hennessy of The Lawrence Arms, but I'll get to that later. And while Jeff Feucht helped write the album, he had to depart the band, never fear for Eli Caterer (previously in a little band called the Smoking Popes and currently in Duvall) is here to lay down the bass.

The overall sound on this album is a bit more upbeat than the EP, and at times even dancy. But there are still plenty of mellow sections spread throughout and most of the songs cover a lot of ground as far as varying tempo and dynamics, one of the band's strong suits. The vocal melodies are perhaps a bit more catchy, and Jason and Pat mix things up even more this time with their contrasting voices, with Jason singing lead on three and Pat taking the rest. The trumpet lines here are better than ever, adding texture as well as great melodies, the guitars continue to boggle my mind, and the drums and bass really bring the groove this time around.

Naming the key tracks is tough on an album stuffed to the brim with developed and amazing songwriting, but hell I'll give you my favs. The opener "The Dusk of Us" begins with a hard-hitting drumbeat based on fills, helped by Scott Adamson, who also recorded the album (it says on their website he played "additional" drums on the track, so I'm not sure exactly what he plays and what Rob plays). Also, the guitars showcase their ability to be independent while still sounding great together, with one picked and one mostly finger picked. "The Serious Kind" is one of the catchiest tunes the band has penned, with the sing-able lines "Stop wasting your time / toeing the line / when you feel compelled. / So hard to define / what's yours and what's mine / Ooo I can't tell. / Did you really think we'd consider / Those of you straddling the line? / Are you the serious kind?" sung in Pat's sweet baritone. The intro also has a smooth trumpet line over nimbly finger picked guitars, and midway through has some lightning fast hihat work. "Work in Prague" covers a huge amount of musical space, starting off with soft ambient guitar and two tracks of trumpet making beautiful dissonance, then pounding drums kick it into high gear with Jason on lead vocals, and it ends with some of the most raucous noise the band has produced. Scott Adamson plays additional drums once again here, but I still can't tell which drummer plays what.

The last two tracks would also be two of the best. "Careless Michael" has a great verse section that seems simple and danceable at first, but upon analysis reveals itself as a guitar part in three with a drum part in two underneath, with a couple dropout beats to recycle the two back together. Then there's the last track "I'll Look at You When the Dying Starts" which begins with the amazing duo of Rob and Lawrence Arms drummer Neil Hennessy, and unlike the ones with Scott Adamson added, here it is clear that one drummer is coming at each of your eardrums full force. The two are mainly in unison but with slight variations, giving it a very powerful and unique start. If you caught them at one of the first shows on their tour, Neil joined them live for the whole set and it was frickin' amazing. So the song transitions back to just Rob, and is a solid song overall with the ending shooting the song to "incredible" status. Neil joins back in on a powerful four-on-the-floor beat with off beat hihat, driving the funk guitars and a killer trumpet solo that is syncopated, jazzy and high. It's quite an end to the album.

So what if I'm a huge fan? You should be too. Colossal brings to the table a great follow up to their debut, improving on their already unique take on indie rock. Go buy this album, go see them live. You'll thank me later.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (March 26, 2005)

I'd like to correct a couple errors on this page. Pat does not play the trumpet, Jason does. Also they don't use acoustic guitars, but they also don't use distortion, so I can see the misunderstanding... I guess.

Anyway. It's good.

Anonymous (September 27, 2004)

So, uh, are these songs better than the one available on the Asian Man site? Because that one is really not that cool.

ColossalBandit (September 24, 2004)

I thought it was called embers only??

sciulli (September 23, 2004)

For the record, the song on Asian Man isn't "Careless Michael," it's "The Serious Kind."

sk8punx4evr (September 23, 2004)

for anyone who wants a sample song, there's one at the asian man site. shit rocks.

SOYBOMB (September 22, 2004)

A plague on ALL of your houses if this CD is anything less than great; I just ordered it, so we shall see.

Peace,
-SOYBOMB-

CrankWillDestroy (September 22, 2004)

I'm a fan of Rob Kellenberger. Does he share vocal duties on this?

Anonymous (September 22, 2004)

Pat Ford is the man and I'm pissed that I missed them in Milwaukee! Come back and play one more show for kids in five foot seven!

Anonymous (September 22, 2004)

Been a huge fan since thier EP debuted in January of 2003. The track "Careless Michael" makes me drool so imagine listening to the whole album.

I seriously can't wait. Plus Pat plays a mean trumpet live. Get back on the east coast fellas!

Ramo

mateo (September 22, 2004)

i can't wait to get my hands on this record. i talked to mike park at the Casbah and he said he'll be doing shows with them sometime soon. and i don't know where you live, Colossal Bandit, but you might wanna try Virgin Megastore or Ameoba Music if you live by one. i've never seen Colossal at any independent punk record stores. i guess they're just too damn good.

ColossalBandit (September 22, 2004)

Fuck yeah i cant wait to get this. does anyone know of any stores that will carry it?

Anonymous (September 22, 2004)

"Colossal sounds like Cap'N Jazz minus everything that made it rock. I hate to say it, but this is more evidence that the Chicago scene is running out of good ideas."

no they don't. from what ive heard (the ep) they don't even use electric guitar, and the lyrics aren't anything close to the zanyness of capn jazz. american football?yes. capn jazz? no.

greg0rb (September 21, 2004)

Oh it's a ten Scott, it's a ten. You just dont know it yet.
-Greg

Sciulli (September 21, 2004)

I need a few more listens to get my feel for this album, but so after on listen I'm very happy. One thing I noticed though is that the vocals sounded like they were mixed a little low. I'm gonna listen with my headphones tonight and see if it was just my stereo drowning out the noise.

and yea, "The Serious Kind" is insanely catchy. You don't really realise it while listening to the song, but after it's over, that one line you quoted just keeps going through your head. Great stuff.

And finally, I'm blown away by Rob's drumming. I'd have to say he's maybe my favorite drummer ever.

mykindofmurder (September 21, 2004)

ever since they were mp3 of the week, i have been totally in love with this band. they are great!

Anonymous (September 21, 2004)

Big Black would go all white pride on these assholes, rape them, then their song writer would record an album with some shitty "noise" band.

Fuck yes.

-BSD

Anonymous (September 21, 2004)

Colossal sounds like Cap'N Jazz minus everything that made it rock. I hate to say it, but this is more evidence that the Chicago scene is running out of good ideas.

kenjamin (September 21, 2004)

Come in the mail damnit!!

Big_Guy (September 21, 2004)

This album is fucking amazing. Definitely one of the best this year.

maverick (September 21, 2004)

The album's not a 10, but it's as goddamn close as it can get. One of the best discs I've heard all year; I can't stop listening to it.

-Scott

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