Review Summary: Experimentation and established style meet in the most wonderful of ways as Colossal steps up with answers to your problems.
A year ago when I first decided to listen to this album I had no idea what I was going to hear. I’d heard it be labeled under a multitude of genres, from math rock to indie rock to emo. However, one thing was unchanging; there was always praise and eventually curiosity got the best of me and I ended up giving it a listen. Upon my first listen, I thought relatively little of it, as it seemed to be another indie / math rock / emo style album that I just didn’t get. There was no click, there was nothing that I found particularly special, and most of all there was nothing I found to be truly interesting. Disappointed, I left it alone to collect digital dust for a while and essentially forgot about it. That is, until recently.
Welcome The Problems
is not only an excellent first album, but a fantastic album in itself. Everything is presented artfully and the music here is phenomenal, carrying the person through a very casual listening experience and providing a pleasant, comfortable atmosphere throughout the entire 41 minute journey. Nothing ever seems out of place and the album as a whole flows wonderfully, with every track coming in at the right time and bringing something new to the album. The overall sound is consistent enough to provide a casual, enjoyable listen but has enough depth and variance to warrant a focused one without boring or disengaging the listener at any point.
Some people may shrug this off as a typical “emo / indie rock” sounding album, plus some occasional horns and a bit more musical complexity. While I would not necessarily agree with these claims, I’d be lying if I said Colossal had a completely unique sound. Their sound is one that is very drum and guitar driven, accompanied by passionate lyrics delivered by an excellent vocalist with some subtle time changes in each song. From the first drum fill to the last, the guitar follows along seamlessly and compliments them very well throughout the duration of the album. Basslines found here aren’t a particularly powerful, driving force of the album but they do a fine job of keeping the low end noticeable and accenting the guitar riffs beautifully. The vocals, though not exactly unconventional or new, fit each and every part of the album so well that it can hardly be argued that they detract anything at all from the overall quality. They have an airy quality that is somewhere between singing, and mildly melodious speaking. But the way that the band goes about presenting this sound is one that truly brings it to life and highlights the best parts of it not only sometimes, but during the entire duration of the album. Mixed in with the trumpet, the outcome is incredibly full sounding and boasts some of the best drumming in the style.
While the band’s style is very important in affecting the overall feel of their sound, the parts that are less conventional within the style are what give the album the ability to truly rise above and beyond other bands in a similar vein. The trumpet intro in “Work In Prague” is one of the most calm, relaxing parts of the album and yet remains engaging and fits very well into the style that Colossal is writing to. When the vocals come in at about 1:59, the song really kicks off and proves itself as one of the best if not the best on the album. As far as the lyrics found on the album go, they pose an array of situations and advice for the listener and prove to be a very strong point on the album. Minimalistic in their presentation, relatable and usually occupying about half of each song or possibly less, they make an impact for each and every word spoken.
Inject emotions you sequester,
Into every glance and every gesture.
Unearth the words that lost their meaning,
And say something that's worth repeating
At a glance, Welcome The Problems
may be another typical album in a style that is not necessarily uncommon. After a few listens though, Colossal prove that they can not only produce the sound but improve upon and add to it in almost every way. Every high point is accentuated to near perfection and any gripes to be found with inside of the album are almost always outweighed by the sheer quality that it holds. Even for those unfamiliar or even uninterested with the style, Welcome The Problems
has so much to offer that it’s hard not to give it a try.