Album Review

Master

Master

by Coolies


7.3 / 10
11th October 2010

Reviewed by Michael Harvey


It's been a longtime between drinks for the Coolies. They were all over the show back in the day, seemingly headed for great things. Then they fell off the radar. Turns out they were losing drummers, gaining drummers, breaking up and getting back together, while at the same time getting tight with like-minded folk in the States. Master is an overview of the last four years, with songs old and new, plus a couple of live recordings. Where so many bands are polishing and pro-tooling their shit to shine, with typical insouciance, the Coolies all of a sudden drop this corker of an album as if to say, "what a bunch of try-hards you are, we recorded this on a reel-to-reel!".

Testament to an album that has been recorded over a number of years, it isn't entirely consistent the whole way through, but let's face it, that isn't what matters when you are listening to the Coolies. Lo-fi out of necessity rather than any kind of aesthetic, songs like the live-recorded "Pull the Trigger" and "Shift" positively make your speakers bleed at high volume. "Ghost Baby" comes on like prime no-wave, with a spooky bassline and propulsive vocals, teetering on the edge of a sea of feedback. "Let's Pretend" kicks the album off with a minute-twenty of blasting punk-rawk righteousness, guitarist Tina and bassist Sjionel singing, "we're waiting for something to happen/we're only waiting for you." A line like that really sums up their M.O: when there's nothing to do, you gotta do it yourself.

Live favourite "Throwaway" finds vocalist Tina dueting, for want of a better word, with drummer Stefan, his brooding voice a neat counterpoint to the frenetic music beneath it. The relatively epic "Searching" is a whirlwind of Casio-bleeps, vocals, drums rolls that metamorphoses, with a shout of "you don't understand!", into a free-noise outro. "Theory" and the fantastic "Holiday" show a more "pop" side to the band - they can be noisy as hell one minute, but then they wallop you with a catchy hook the next. It's the tension between these choice cuts and the more expansive and sonically overdriven material that gives Master it's edge over other scuzzed-out noise bands of today. There is a restlessness inherent in the Coolies' music; you get the sense that they are always moving forward, which makes Master a snapshot of a band who are not content to stand still.




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