Watch out for 3hree Things every Tuesday, where Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California, being an OC native and, of course, music.
Oxford, Mississippi's Colour Revolt put out their second full-length, The Cradle, today. Not only is it a satisfying record from a band I already loved, but it's an absolute lock for my Favorite 10 Records Of 2010 (a list on Absolutepunk.net that I've contributed to for the past few years.)
I'll assume most of you (aside from those that might have caught them on tour with Brand New or Manchester Orchestra) may not have heard of them before, because their touring history (especially in the OC/LA area) is fairly limited, they have three releases on three different record labels (Interscope, Fat Possum, and now, their own label, New Fear/Dualtone), and there were rumors of a break up after their last record Plunder, Beg, and Curse (an outstanding record, in it's own right.) If that's the case, we've got to remedy that immediately.
Break up rumors be damned. Colour Revolt is pressing on, with a new energy and a new rhythm section, since the loss of their bassist, Patrick Addison, and drummer, Len Clark (a personal favorite of mine.) They've essentially whittled the band down to it's two core members, Jesse Coppenbarger and Sean Kirkpatrick, and in doing so, produced what I feel is their greatest output to date.
I could give you Ten Things (one for each song) about The Cradle, but for the sake of this column, I'll narrow it down to my three favorite tracks from a fantastic record that I can almost guarantee you'll enjoy. You can take the record for a test drive here.
A caveat before we go any further; the more I write about music, the more difficult it becomes. As someone who's been on the receiving end of writings like this, I understand how uncomfortable reading someone's description of your creative output can be, so if, by chance, someone in Colour Revolt gets ahold of this, I apologize if my perception of what you've done is off-base in any way. I have the utmost respect for what you do and how you do it. Putting that respect into words, is difficult for me (but for some reason, I keep trying.)
1) "8 Years" The album's opener is an energetic and endearing reflection on the band's journey over the past eight years; the ups, the downs, and the everything in between (including a pants-shitting in Champaign, and their fathers driving them on their first tour.) Pushed along by studio drummer Daniel Davison's tom-based groove, each verse is capped with a resonating refrain about perspective (the only way you can survive eight years in this business) that sets the tone for the rest of the record, "One man's limo is another man's hearse."
2) "Everything Is The Same" The first thing that really stuck with me when I heard Colour Revolt's self-titled EP (2006) was the passion in Coppenbarger's vocals. There's an inherent honesty in his delivery, in the fragility of his near-whispered vocals during the quiet sections, and in the way his voice breaks up when he pushes to sing in a higher register. That kind of character and depth can't be feigned. I feel that tenfold in this song, probably because the sparse instrumentation really allows his vocals to shine. When he hits the "oohs" in the outro it's crushing, like someone standing on my chest. An absolutely beautiful track.
3) "Reno" A perfect closer for the album. The tones on this track are beautiful, and the interplay between the warmth of the Rhodes and the clean, arpeggiated lead guitar in the verses is chill-inducing (especially the uplifting F# [I think?] in the progression.) Again, Coppenbarger's lyrics deal with perspective, and are delivered in such an impassioned manner, that the weight of the last line has stuck with me since I first heard it. "Knowing that I will be everything around me, and everything around me will complete me too."
You can (and should) buy The Cradle with nine different box set options here.