Review Summary: Fun, inventive and ultimately refreshing
I discovered Cotillion by accident, trawling for good music on bandcamp whilst not really expecting to find anything, but I was so charmed by their self-description of “midi-sequenced petticoats” and “schwartzcore” (and so fed up with the legions of **** bands that I been skimming through) that I felt compelled to give it a listen, and was very pleasantly surprised. For those unfamiliar with Cotillion (which is the majority of people), their sound falls somewhere between post-hardcore and metal, blending technicality, precision and melody together, with some synths thrown in for good measure. On paper it’s nothing particularly interesting or original, but the songs are written so accessibly and concisely that it’s very easy to let go of any expectations or critical outlook and get swept away with them. Every riff and melody is executed perfectly, sounding both catchy and substantial and technical without being overindulgent. Everything sounds completely natural to the extent that it’s actually hard to listen to it without visualising the band jamming in the back of your mind. As well as this, the variety of ideas contained within each song is wide enough to ensure that they remain interesting throughout, but everything fits together perfectly with the result that each song feels like a logical sequence of ideas rather than a jumbled mess.
Opener Waking Apnea
is a perfect example of Cotillion’s sound; it starts off simply, with a gentle chord progression, but quickly swells up and explodes into a flurry of synths and crunchy riffs that doesn’t let up for the next three minutes. Everything is catchy and well-structured, making the song feel like a solid progression. I Forgot About My Tea, and Now It's Cold
– alongside having one of the coolest song names I’ve ever seen (Watermelons Don't Make Me Happy
from the Debutantes III is the only better name that I can think of) – is both more aggressive and more technical, whilst still retaining the hooks. Clean parts are thrown in perfectly, seeming sporadic in order to add to the chaotic vibe of the song. It is also a prime example of how the band uses synths – they do so sparingly, so that the listener doesn’t become too accustomed to them, but when they are deployed, the effect is massive; towards the end of I Forgot About My Tea, and Now It's Cold
, the synth-guitar interplay is masterful and creates a fascinatingly trippy atmosphere. Your Other Left
is best described as chunky; it immediately creates a powerful hard rock-esque vibe that shortly develops into violent rhythms and forceful breakdowns, aggression executed tastefully.
None of these three songs are particularly long, but they are crammed with ideas, giving The Debutantes I an extremely concise feel, and one of the main problems with it is that it ends quite abruptly; having just experienced almost ten minutes of what could be some of the best heavy music ever created for partying, the listener feels slightly at a loss at the end of the EP, possibly the withdrawal effects of such an addictive sound. Although this results in great replay value, the Debutantes I’s length is still slightly confusing; I find it much more satisfying to listen to all three Debutantes in order. As well as this, there is a lack of audible bass, which is hard to notice due to the extent to which everything else justifies being mixed higher, but I can’t stop wondering how great the bass could be if it was used as successfully and inventively as everything else. Other than this, there’s not much wrong with The Debutante’s (pt. I); it’s an excellent start to a promising musical career that I’d recommend to anyone, alongside Parts II and III (which are just as excellent).
1. I Forgot About My Tea, And Now It’s Cold
2. Waking Apnea
3. Your Other Left