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Coldcut - Sound Mirrors

Coldcut, Sound Mirrors

Review by Rob Lord

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

SOUND pioneers and visionaries Coldcut are back with their first long player since Let Us Replay. Known for stretching the known boundaries of music, Coldcut can produce moments of utter clarity and beauty – and as with anything on the outer edge of its field, they can sometimes produce painfully difficult music. But there you go, that’s the fine line they tread.

Sound Mirrors echoes this – at times sublime, gentle and soothing and at others harsh and grating. No better example is Just for the Kick which rolls with heavy drums, skewed vocals and the sound of a camera shutter constantly firing. It then breaks into a soft and spacious piano break – and then delivers back to the frenetic pace it steamed at along before. Confusing yes, but it also works very well.

Everything Is Under Control opens the album. It’s ‘in your face’ electronic rock of Beastie Boys style. Heavy guitar and loud vocals power this track through.

Sound Mirrors flirts with every style in the book – which either shows how multi-talented Coldcut are or they couldn’t decide what type of album they’d like to make. I’ll opt for multi-talented as each track is crafted with skill and careful attention.

It’s the slower tracks that really stand out, though. Single Man In A Garage has a battery drained Gorillaz feel with a typical Damon-esque chorus. If the lyrics are about a guy in the garage on his way to work, then they don’t do justice to the warmth and feeling the tune generates as it ebbs and flows to its conclusion.

Mr Nichols is a really interesting track the like of which I’ve not heard before. A spoken monologue recounting a corporate puppet’s fall from grace, it hooks the listener from bar 1 and however many times I listen, there’s always more to hear. It’s no club tune this but it is stunning. If you don’t buy this album, then get this tune from itunes on its own. It really is special.

There is, throughout the album, a recurring theme of depression. All the lyrics are about struggle, politics or loss in some way. Whistle And A Prayer opens with ‘little kids teach themselves to make whistling sounds’ which I thought might be a happy song, until I learned they were imitating the sound of dropping bombs.

I know the world is not that great but I like music to whisk me off to far away places. Coldcut put you firmly in the world of 24-hour news and with no place to escape it’s certainly no summertime escape.

I like this album, I really do. There are some great moments of warmth (check the strings on Sound Mirrors) and colour (Colours the Soul) but every time you start enjoying yourself, Coldcut chuck in the twist to remind you all is not well in the world.

Confused, I sure am.

Hear tracks now

Track listing:

  1. Man In A Garage
  2. True Skool
  3. Just For The Kick
  4. Walk A Mile In My Shoes
  5. Mr Nichols
  6. A Whistle And A Prayer
  7. Everything Is Under Control
  8. Boogieman
  9. Aid Dealer
  10. This Island Earth
  11. Colours The Soul
  12. Sound Mirrors