Review Summary: A dynamic record from this young English group.
One of the more interesting bands to emerge from this recent melodic hardcore explosion is England's The Cold Harbour. Unlike many of their peers, The Cold Harbour plays a personable form of hardcore music with equal parts aggression and melody. Rounded out by engaging song dynamics and stellar production values, The Cold Harbour distinguish themselves from their stagnant peers with a all around solid record in 2012's Homebound.
The Cold Harbour is a very charming band. Fusing post-rock tendencies with hardcore punk is not very original but somehow, someway they make this sound fresh and exciting like you've heard it for the very first time. Countering the stale musical concept with inspired songwriting, deep lyricism and strong individual performances, The Cold Harbour make the fusion their own. Blending various tempos, soft to loud dynamics and instrumental interludes, Homebound is a multifaceted record that contains real depth and memorability that extends far beyond the brief 28 minute run time of this record.
As you press play you are greeted with the intro track The Cold Harbour. It begins in a traditional post rock manner with a slow buildup leading into a explosive, rhythmic climax of layered guitars and percussion. It's a good precursor for what's about to happen next because the album often times makes use of that same soft/loud dynamic. Although predictable it is more often than not performed admirably. For the next track Homebound you are greeted with the harsh vocals for the first time that merge perfectly with the aggressive/melodic guitars and percussion. What The Cold Harbour really excel at is tempo manipulation. They can have slower passages mixing with faster passages or vice versa. It doesn't really matter though because they all transition so well in context with each other.
The album is quite formulaic in it's structure yet the complacency doesn't harm it in any kind of way because of how natural it all sounds. Nothing sounds forced or out of place. Their sound is very cohesive and relaxed, thanks in part to a strong musical chemistry between the band members. They sync in together quite nicely and what's really great is the authentic emotion that is pouring from your speakers. You can just tell that these guys would put on one hell of a show if you were to see them.
Another great element to the band is the production. It's very clean and captures every instrument fully yet it's never sterile. The vocals are very prominent but never overbearing. The rhythm section is always on point with the percussion especially being noteworthy. The guitars are crisp, aggressive and melodic, alternating between chilled out sequences and straight forward chugging at ease.
Overall, this is a really solid record that fans of post-rock and hardcore should love. Since the days of randomly discovering them on bandcamp I haven't been able to put them on pause.