Cola: The Gloss (Fire Talk) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, July 21st, 2024  


The Gloss

Fire Talk

Jun 14, 2024 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Cola recently played at the Ramsgate Music Hall here on the Kentish Coast of England. The seaside side-street building mirrors the band’s minimalist, motorik rock well: it’s a small space with a big sound, unassuming and alluring, friendly and understated—the kind of place you want to return to again and again in search of further musical treasures.

On their second record, The Gloss, Cola continue the delicate path of their 2022 debut, Deep In View. “Water Table” spoke best to the band’s sound there—repetition, rhythm, sharp lyrics, and subtle melodies carefully crafted into a strangely emotive whole. Here, the trio more fully realize their remit, with an album both tender and taut throughout.

Ex-Ought singer/guitarist Tim Darcy’s soft voice opens up beautifully here, particularly on “Tracing Hallmarks,” a twitchy, jerking shrug of a song. His fellow Ought bandmate Ben Stidworthy’s bass has an admirably direct simplicity and steadiness that anchors otherwise perilously jazzy tunes like the gorgeous, hazy single “Pallor Tricks.”

Drummer Evan Cartwright has been brought into the songwriting fold on The Gloss and this has broadened and emboldened the band’s sound. The discordant “Bell Wheel” evidences a more kinetic, chaotic sound while “Nice Try,” on which Cartwright plays guitar, adds a new warmth and wooziness to the band’s musical palette.

Darcy’s lyrics populate the songs with longing, self-awareness and oblique commentary. “I fetishize an ancient mind/To forget my albatross,” he sings on the wobbling, warped “Albatross.” On the album’s most beautiful song, “Keys Down If You Stay,” with which they rightly closed their Ramsgate Music Hall show, he (probably) sings “Wading out like a zero in the water…” and “Listen in like a fiend operator,” a pair of images both striking and unusually moving in their economy and uniqueness.

Cola’s music is precise, it’s smart, it’s singular. The Gloss is an exceptional record, perfect for cool nights in darkened rooms at the ocean’s edge. (

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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