Red Collar - Pilgrim (Cover Artwork)

Red Collar

Red Collar: PilgrimPilgrim (2009)

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: BryneBryne
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This new full-length from Red Collar, Pilgrim is really hard to pin down. It was described to me as Fugazi meets the Hold Steady, a strange pairing if there ever was one. Listening to it though, it's obvious why those comparisons were made. The super-angular guitar parts in a lot of the songs are st.
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This new full-length from Red Collar, Pilgrim is really hard to pin down. It was described to me as Fugazi meets the Hold Steady, a strange pairing if there ever was one. Listening to it though, it's obvious why those comparisons were made. The super-angular guitar parts in a lot of the songs are straight out of the Fugazi playbook, and some of the more grandiose moments here certainly wouldn't sound odd with Craig Finn crooning over them. Pilgrim is quite honestly one of the most original records that have crossed these ears in quite a while.

The Fugazi influence really shines on both "Hands Up" and "Rust Belt Heart," the guitar work having the same sort of focused noodling one would find in many of that band's songs. "Stay" and "Catch A Ride" possess the same quality to a lesser extent, but the slightly more subdued manner in which Red Collar execute these parts actually enhance the songs, instead of leaving them feeling cold and somewhat devoid of emotion.

Meanwhile, the freewheeling nature of a lot of these tracks lend themselves to the notion that the Hold Steady were any sort of analog for Red Collar. The incredibly catchy "Used Guitars," with those infectious group vocals in the chorus, as well as the captivating performance by vocalist Jason Kutchma, are both highlights, as are the title track and the heavily acoustic, totally awesome "Tonight"; the electronic tinges and reverbed vocals mesh surprisingly well inside the song's minimal shell.

Things become slightly more brooding on "Tools," as the instrumentation and vocals definitely feel far darker than anything else here. The driving, jagged guitars coupled with light keyboards give the song a real Murder by Death feel, and that's certainly far from a bad thing. The only other slight example of this dynamic from Red Collar is in "The Astronaut," though it's largely in the vocals; the guitars crunch along and the drums pound with calculated ferocity, leaving before it wears out its welcome.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Pilgrim's opener, "The Commuter." Appropriately enough, the song's intro is minimal and atmospheric, with sounds of vehicles whizzing by liberally thrown in. The song has a compelling buildup and a satisfying payoff replete with loud guitars and strong vocals from Kutchma. Those group shouts of "we been workin' overtime" are definitely appreciated, too. When listening to a record from a new band, it's pretty much essential that the opening track has to be good, and "The Commuter" delivers big time.

As hard as it has become to forge an original sound in any scene these days, Red Collar have done a nice job in carving out a new niche with Pilgrim. It's fresh, exciting and compelling, and I look forward to hearing more from this band.


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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.
xjeffersonx (October 14, 2011)

erections for this

macbethmystery (May 17, 2010)

this album rules so hard

slymer (May 14, 2010)

Just got the CD in the mail yesterday and I'm really digging this. My first impression was that they remind me of 'The Constantines'. This is an album that gets better with each listen.

exitenglish1208 (May 6, 2010)

just got this today, finally checking them out after i missed them at a gaslight show last year, and it's really fucking good

DarrenMcLeod (September 6, 2009)

Bought this disc based on this review, and I'm loving it. Great job on the review.

mathclub (June 9, 2009)

Definitely one of the best records of the year

funkymonk012 (June 7, 2009)

very cool that this record was reviewed here. it's been in my car non-stop for the last several months

soundforlanguage (June 7, 2009)

This is so fucking good.

Blackjaw_x (June 6, 2009)

I really dig this album, and their EP, but those songs are on here too...
Thanks to TheSandwiches for pointing me to the compilation I first heard this band on.

I'd give it 3.5 or 4 stars if I wasn't on the beta (seriously, why can't you put the stars at the top of your comment on the beta?).

thesandwiches (June 6, 2009)

Easily one of the best releases of the year. Can't wait for the vinyl release

kneel (June 6, 2009)

i love this record more and more every time i listen to it.

baldsteve (June 5, 2009)

Goddamn this record rules

FaceOnTheBarroomFloor (June 5, 2009)

Great record and even greater people.

mikexdude (June 5, 2009)

I don't know if I like it or not yet. Very interesting sound.

I do LOVE the guitar though.

SloaneDaley (June 5, 2009)

one of the best releases of the year, by far.

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