A Beacon School
Cola


4.0
excellent

Review

by Claire Q. STAFF
May 22nd, 2018 | 33 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “It’s good to have a tether.”

“So much for feeling grounded.” There was an irony in how this line from “It’s Late” met with my perception of Cola: that, contrary to what its dream pop classification would suggest, the album feels grounded, sober even, in its loops, steady pulses, and gentle strumming. But this characteristic isn’t to be regretted -- the six-minute opus of “It’s Late”, with its trance-like beat and constantly hovering synthesizers, is reassuring solidity. Any haze and reverb on Cola warms, but does not confuse or obfuscate; and repetition, as used by “It’s Late”, does not hypnotize so much as remind us of the foundation that we stand on.

The other major aspect of Cola is its contentment, containing a certain acceptance of restlessness. The album rests in an easy coexistence between less structured vignettes (i.e. “Heat Wave” and “Hum”) and its more patiently evolving songs. There exists a contrast between the upbeat and the contemplative, one that becomes more notable after you notice that the songs exemplifying the former (“I Don’t Believe It”, “Stay Away”) flow into those of the latter (“It’s Late”, “Ash”). It’s one of the reasons why I would hesitate to describe this album as joyful, or representing some form of unbridled happiness; for instance, “Ash” evokes for me weariness, but specifically the pleasant kind that only hard-earned accomplishment can engender. Of course, contentment isn’t qualified happiness, but something more complete; indeed, the effervescence of “Stay Away” is made more meaningful by “Ash” and its restraint.

Lyrically, Cola is cryptic, but I’m convinced that ambiguity is secondary to the merits of the album. When I reached the conclusion that Cola embodied contentment, it was because I could perceive the various parts that were integrated, peaceful and chaotic; ambiguity would have sought to conceal, to leave us wondering about what we were feeling in the way that a half-forgotten dream would have. Cola feels too concrete to be in the realm of dreams and instability; it grounds me where I am for the better.



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user ratings (32)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Aberf
May 21st 2018


2432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you for this review Claire

verdant
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2018


2409 Comments


interesting perspective, well argued. cheers

clavier
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2018


874 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks abe and jack, this album was honestly a struggle to review - contrary to what I've said, I do think it does lend itself to multiple interpretations

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 22nd 2018


30688 Comments


Review is superbly written. I'm not big on shoegaze but I like how you make this sound, might have to give it a go.

Digging: Tyler, the Creator - Igor

Winesburgohio
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2018


2523 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

its late is song of the year probz

what i love about ur reviews is i can have a completely different opinion and read a thoughtful, well-articulated counterpoint and integrate that into the album and that is cool owo

Digging: Flying Lotus - Flamagra

Aberf
May 22nd 2018


2432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This isn't really that shoegazy tbh. Dream Pop with mathy composition is where it stands.

Poxy
May 22nd 2018


158 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Right click, synonyms.

dbizzles
May 22nd 2018


13154 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is good. This review captures a lot of what I felt with the album, but in a different way? The first time I heard this it felt very dream-like, but the second time it was more like a lucid dream with full control. I don't know. I get what you mean about it feeling both upbeat and contemplative. A nice mix.

Digging: Rusted Shut - Rehab

Aberf
May 22nd 2018


2432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

if "It's Late" isn't track of the year, I don't know what to believe.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2018


2875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I feel very similarly about it seeming sober. "“Ash” evokes for me weariness, but specifically the pleasant kind that only hard-earned accomplishment can engender" -- big, big agree, and very great piece of writing.

Digging: Injury Reserve - Injury Reserve

granitenotebook
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2018


898 Comments


i love your ability to write something without overstating it - you say what you mean, and communicate ideas very clearly.

SteakByrnes
May 22nd 2018


14739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Solid review, the conclusion is dope

Digging: Kurt Travis - There's a Place I Want to Take You

SteakByrnes
May 23rd 2018


14739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow this rules

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 23rd 2018


24639 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

downloading this as we speak, good stuff Claire! good to see ya around n still reviewing

dbizzles
May 23rd 2018


13154 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn, only 14 ratings. This needs some attention.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 23rd 2018


24639 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ill change that in a sec dw

TheWrenKing
May 23rd 2018


1696 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

first 3 tracks r gr8 ! can't recall the rest :/

dbizzles
May 23rd 2018


13154 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Strange. I prefer the back half.

SteakByrnes
May 23rd 2018


14739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I could not stop listening to this last night

dbizzles
May 25th 2018


13154 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Bumped my rating. Shit owns.



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