Collide, “Color of Nothing”

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written by alex
November 28, 2017 | Category: Uncategorized

Collide
Color of Nothing
Noiseplus

Collide are the most consistent of acts in the darkwave sphere, with a track record to prove it. Their new LP Color Of Nothing is only the latest in a sturdy line of albums that demonstrate kaRIN and Statik’s dedication to the crafts of songwriting, production and performance. When you put on a Collide record you know you’ll hear something measured, tasteful and pleasant to listen to. That overriding agreeableness is both their blessing and their curse artistically: while never less than absolutely professional, their restraint and refinement can be hard to get excited about.

Make no mistake though, the eleven songs on the LP have plenty to recommend them. Statik’s incredible knack for mixing electronics with live guitars remains one of their greatest assets. When the raunchy slide guitar riff rolls out over the opening bass sequence of “Side to Side” or when the big riffs drop from the sky onto the lush, Depeche Mode-esque electronics of “Only Human” you can’t help but admire how natural and easy it sounds, the kind of arrangement that you wouldn’t ever predict, but sounds obvious once it happens. Everything about his sound design is measured and executed with precision, from the sculpted reverb that outlines the string arrangement that concludes “Blurring the Edges”, to the way the pinched and glitched guitar on opener “Wake Up” gives away to a fuzzy widescreen chorus, it’s polish from first note to last.

And kaRIN for her part remains incredibly poised and present on every song. She has an almost preternatural understanding of how to deliver a song, modulating her delivery to suit the material. It’s apparent in how she plays off the off-kilter rhythms on “Soul Crush” by holding notes for just long enough to provide stability, or how she shifts her tone from clipped and matter of fact to coy and demure on “Will Not Be Destroyed”. Hell, the album’s best moment, the chorus of the groovy, synth heavy “Say What You Mean” is deliberately underdelivered to amazing effect. Instead of leaning into it she pulls back to draw the listener closer to the forceful instrumental. Like her partner, she’s in full control of her toolset and knows how to deploy it for effect.

It seems almost criminal to penalize a band for being too slick and accomplished, but the truth is that Color of Nothing‘s charm doesn’t come from grand gestures, but from an aggregation of high-gloss components. It’s a record that stays at exactly one level throughout, never less than good and congenial, but not often more than that either. They’ve never been a band who trade in hooks or sticky pop melodies, and in that way the LP is almost the essence of a Collide record; a product of absolute dedication to technique above all else.

Buy it.

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