From their earliest recordings, up to their latest one, no one could have predicted the musical trajectory of Louisville's Coliseum. On early albums such as "Goddamage" and "No Salvation", they were more of a straight up crusty hardcore band, while they took a slight left turn with the spooky post-punk vibes of 2010's "House With A Curse". Soon followed, the "Parasites" EP, and in 2013 on their most recent record, "Sister Faith", released late last month, they have undergone yet another transformation, yet still retaining all of their power and passion.
This one is more stripped down and to-the-point, and main man Ryan Patterson definitely agrees with this description of their new record.
"'House With A Curse' was our Southern Gothic record, it was a little more ornate and dark. With "Sister Faith" we wanted to make it a little more energetic and fun. We wanted to make songs that would be great to play live and also be the type of songs you would want to roll the windows down and crank up," said Patterson. In order to achieve this goal, the band, which also includes bassist Kayhan Vaziri and drummer Carter Wilson, enlisted the help of longtime collaborator, J. Robbins, of Jawbox and Burning Airlines fame, to produce. Robbins mastered "House" and produced a majority of the "Parasite" record, so it seemed like a no-brainer to use him once again. But the connection, goes far beyond just someone who is good with tweaking their sound. You see, for Patterson, the connection goes much deeper. "About 11 years ago, J. produced a record for my old band Black Cross and I liked how that turned out. For this record, he stayed at my house and we recorded in downtown Louisville. Jawbox was one of the first bands I saw as a kid. I was fifteen and completely blown away and obsessed with them. They made an impact on me. He was someone I always looked up to, whether it was his work with Jawbox or Burning Airlines. It's awesome that we have a longstanding professional relationship," said Patterson.
But it's just not hero worship, because Robbins seems to be the right man to get the right sound out of this band. "He's the perfect person for what we wanted to do. He shares a similar perspective and brings out the best in us," added Patterson. On "Sister Faith", all these factors have combined to what could be possibly the band's defining statement. It shows their growth, but still plays to their strengths, making for a recording that is powerful, thoughtful and loud. It was made to be played loud. Also, it showcases the various sides of the band's repertoire to great effect. The opening salvo of "Disappear From Sight" and "Last/Lost" get the record off to a fast start. From there, they indulge, in some heavy post-punk rock, with "Love Under Will" and "Everything In Glass", give a punk rock blow out in "Black Magic Punks", add a little hardcore to the mix with "Bad Will" and close with a triumphant scree of riff rock in "Fuzzbang". It's easily one of their best. If one looks deeper, you will see there are certain, lyrical and thematic connections to songs and ideas that have appeared on previous records.
On "Under The Blood Of The Moon" there is a lyric that says, "Their eyes, Ocular", which continues Patterson's fascinations with eyes that appeared on songs such as "Blind In One Eye" on "House" and "The Fiery Eye" from "Parasites". Patterson admits that this theme pops up inadvertently, but there is some weight to it. "As they say, eyes are the window to the soul. There is something about their piercing quality, a certain physicality to them, that makes them intriguing," said Patterson. But he also added that this new record also continues his streak of writing songs with "love" in the title ("Love Under Will") and also with "blood", too ("Under The Blood Of The Moon" "Used Blood"). He even points out, to those paying attention, that the opening lines of "Fuzzbang" are tied to the "Goddamage" record, which connects their whole catalog together.
In addition, the cover and booklet contains some of Patterson's darkly enthralling art, which to those who follow the band, is also an important part of their image. Patterson believes that the artwork goes hand in hand with the music in creating a certain feeling and look for the band. "They are intrinsically linked. It helps to define a certain aesthetic. The music and artwork should compliment each other. Though the music, is more important, the artwork fits into a greater idea that we are trying to convey," said Patterson. The band is currently in the midst of a tour that takes them to Cafe Nine in New Haven on Sunday. So, this is an opportunity to catch a band at the height of their powers. This one will be loud, fun and maybe even life-changing for a bunch of you. It is definitely another "can't miss" show.
Manic Productions Presents:ColiseumCalifornia X2 Ton BugSunday May 19, 2013Cafe Nine250 State StreetNew Haven, CT 065118pm - 21+ - $8 adv./$10 doors