Cold Years are feeling reflective in their full-length debut, ‘Paradise’. It’s a feel-good record whose edges are tinged with melancholia, making for an emotionally diverse listen.
On the surface, distinguishing between songs that are ‘happy’ or ‘sad’ appears to be straight-forward. However, upon further dissection, it becomes clear that ‘Paradise’ isn’t quite so black and white.
Instrumentally, for the most part, the more upbeat tracks reside in the first half. Opening with ’31’, a soft starter that buds into a full-blown celebration, Cold Years hold a middle finger up to the world, rejecting all of the bad and drinking to the good.
The tracks that immediately proceed are very much a continuation of this. This is particularly true of ‘Life With A View’, which throws caution to the wind and cherishes the moment with the injection of witty lyrics, like “Death keeps calling but you’re missing all his calls.”
With ‘The Waits’ comes a change of pace. Igniting the chorus, mellow keys and a murmuring bass line underride Ross Gordon‘s vocals, before things crescendo into a full instrumental explosion. Moments of musical tenderness spot the album from here on out, notably in certain snippets of the nostalgia laden ‘Dropout’, and in the lyrical lamentation of ’62 (My Generation’s Falling Apart)’.
The album’s most unashamedly sombre offering is its closer. Gentle guitar and raw, impassioned vocals combine to tell a tragic tale and loss and grief. Completely dropping its guard right at the last moment, ‘Hunter’ acts as a beautiful tribute and provides a fitting final release for an album that’s steeped in varying degrees of emotional turmoil.
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