“Drown In Colour” – ‘Red Riders’
I was startled the other morning. I’d awoke, blissfully ignorant to begin with; which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. I’ve been in a pretty mellow disposition ever since I started these reviews, and for a month now, I’ve been pretty sure of my writing-abilities in relation to music. It’s not easy putting fingers-to-keyboard with such dedication, only to receive comments that totally and utterly tear you to pieces. It was understandable, I suppose – it was ‘Jarvis Cocker’s’ “Further Complications”, and the way I see it: a crap album earns itself a crap review.
But, I treasure such feedback. What do we do when we fall? We pick ourselves up again. Unless we’re concussed, and unconscious, then we just lie there. But anyhow, I’ll cope. It’s not like I’ll lose any sleep over it in the meanwhile, and I’ll keep on finding albums nonetheless. At least there’s enough positive feedback at the moment that outweighs the bad, probably not for long though:
“… Notes to self — 1) Dumb-down simplistic-language for one “Isomeric Cleric” — 2) Refrain church visitations — 3) Implicate that ‘… religion IS the root of all evil…’ — 4) Rescind MENSA membership…”
And onto the album itself, and those with a short attention-span – here it is, as plain and as simple as you can get it:
“… Yeah, um… “Drown in Colour” by ‘Red Riders’ was… Ahh… geez… pretty good, I suppose. I liked it.”
WARNING! FURTHER DETAIL FOLLOWS; AVERT YOUR EYES OR SHUT YOUR BROWSERS IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO HEAR OPINIONATED B.S.
Although the Perth-music scene has totally swallowed up a majority of bands, there still remain select-handfuls of people who believe that it is only a matter of time before the fantastic, epic-nature that has since accompanied orbiting bands will diminish as the muse begins to die. The plateau has yet to be reached, and just when me and Michael Hodder think that it’s reached its peak, we’re awestruck with bands like ‘Sugar Army’ and their soon-to-be classic, epic-epic++ track “Tongues In Cheeks”. We’ve seen shit like this happen before, a band’ll pump out some outrageously-brilliant song and mind blow everyone within close proximity. And although ‘Red Riders’ are a Sydney-based band, Michael Hodder and I still long for – and hope – that quiet little Melbourne will perhaps explode just the same. It’s not that bands aren’t coming out of the East Coast or VIC, it’s just they’re few-and-far-between.
And you’re probably asking what any of this has to do with “Drown In Colour”? Well, we all like a good story, and these are opinionated articles, I thought I’d just fill you in a bit. Our non-nationals need to be informed of Australia’s growing potential, and that’s exactly why I’ve mentioned Perth. This is perhaps the third album I’ve reviewed from a band hailing from the Bay-&-Bridge scene round Sydney-way, and although my partner is perhaps a little reluctant to look in that direction – as am I at time to time – bands like ‘The Hylozoists’ and ‘The Dead Sea’, really don’t epitomise what we should be expecting for the growing indie-rock-alternative influences that seem to flood our country elsewhere. I’ve found similarities between those two artists and their area, but ‘Red Riders’, and I think this is their second-full-length feature, have already got a debut under the belt, and are some difference from Sydney that was unexpected.
Indie-lovers, like myself, might find a growing number of indie-influenced music floating about the scene at the moment, and it is turning into one of the most popular genres of this decade. And I don’t want to go into great detail about what we should class as indie, because it’s really like trying to explain what offside is. It’s painful, the least to say. I’ve found that ‘Red Riders’ have this really classic, really honest indie style that bands like ‘The Killers’ had, and continue to have, as pioneers of a genre. You’ll find that “Drown In Colour” is like getting in a time-machine back to the mid-naughties early nineties when indie was reaching maturity. Could be wrong on the dates, there, but ‘Red Riders’ are one of the few clean indie bands, untainted by experimental, punk, or rock-like influences. It’s really easy to hear in their music, and from start to finish, “Drown In Colour” keeps a change-it-up consistency that maintains faithfulness to its genre, whilst flaunting it in the meanwhile.
‘Red Riders’ are sounding like a very early, very young, very hopeful ‘Franz Ferdinand’, although distinctions between both are obviously heard; voice, key-and-tempo shifts which are ‘Franz Ferdinand’s’ characteristic features, among other things. “Drown In Colour” is a relatively short-lived album, and despite its 40-min length, is over before it’s even begun. I was slightly disappointed with the length, although the music did live above my expectations. It’s difficult to express any similarity between this and ‘The Temper Trap’s’ “Conditions”, but I would note an uncanny shortness – so ‘TTT’ fans, you’ll know what I’m talking about. No song really goes beyond the five-minute-mark, and there are a total of eleven tracks, with an average of three-minutes between.
Onto the tracks themselves, and there is some really, really good music happening here: “Tomorrow/today” opens for “Drown In Colour”, and riffs here have likeness to some I’ve seen in ‘FF’. Vocals have the typical Australian-quality to them, so accent is reduced, but not at all forgotten. My partner made a comparison to ‘The Beach Boys’ and ‘Red Riders” first album, but it’s significantly reduced here – I find it hard to makes links between either, actually. The lyrics are quite interesting; they offset the vocals, which offset the guitar:
“… and it goes, and it goes, and it goes…”
… Will be carved into your brain by the end of it. “Ordinary” follows this, and it really has the same qualities that “Tomorrow/today” had. It follows the same riff-format, with accompanying percussion, chorus, and vocals where appropriate. It’s not the best example on the album, so I’ll move onto “Over Again”, which has to be my favourite. It’s the middle-track for the album, and people: it’s bloody hard for me to like a middle-track in an album. But I do absolutely love it. The riffs are significantly different, and without going into great detail, the vocals and the lyrics are the only things that make this song.
There’s urgency in the voice:
“… And I will love, yeah, I will love you, no, I will love you, over and over again…”
The emphasis builds to a mini-chorus-crescendo, and the accompanying music helps the offset-vocals which are somewhat off-key also. “Farewell Cruel City” finishes for “Drown In Colour”, and we see a more intimate, more delicately-crafted song. Minimalistic-guitar, riffs that build in threes, or picks that back the vocals, are the general elements to the song – and I do love the sole-guitar, and the distant xylophone, which conjure images of isolation and suspense. Crescendos are limited, but the thrashing drum in the background helps bring momentum to an otherwise smooth-flowing song. When the vocals explode, they’re emotionally-packed. It makes for a somewhat-epic finish, I suppose.
Overall, “Drown In Colour” has the mask of being epic. I was having a good-ol’-chat with my mates this-‘arvo, and we were discussing “epic”. What constitutes epic, what bands have got the mojo, and what bands need it. And when we came to ‘Red Riders’, I knew that the album was good, we all did, it was just, it had the facade of being “epic”, all the songs are so close but just land under par. Apparently there are some albums that are oozing too much epic. Michael Hodder will admit that sometimes a band with this kind of epic is just too epic…
… Don’t get me started on too much epic, but the fish I’ve been catching and the albums I’ve been listening to have been far from too much. When it comes to a rating about “Drown In Colour”, I’m a little indifferent. It doesn’t deserve a harsh rating, but then again, I don’t want to encourage it to stay the way it is. 3 is reasonable, I suppose.
The Enantiomorphic God