Colour Revolt - Plunder, Beg, and Curse
Record Label: Fat Possum Records
Release Date: April 1, 2008
Last year I was dismayed to pick up a copy of Alternative Press and see they had written off Colour Revolt with a 2 out of 5 rating for the band's self-titled EP. I've never been big into Modest Mouse, (I am more so now than in previous years; like a fine wine, they have grown on me with age) but upon seeing Colour Revolt two years ago at a CD release show for their EP, and then hearing the final product, I just kept thinking, "This sounds like a heavy version of Modest Mouse." Somewhere between the intensity of Lonesome Crowded West and "Bury Me With It" from Good News for People Who Love Bad News is the sound that encapsulates Colour Revolt's debut EP.
Through a friend I obtained the demos "Naked and Red" and what I know now to be "Swamp" last year. "Naked and Red" is a heightening song, building verse by verse into an explosion with frontman Jesse Coppenbarger trying to violently have edge over the sound backing him. From this I knew the band's debut would be one of my top picks of 2008.
For fans of "Blood in Your Mouth" and "Circus," those sounds lie few and far between on Plunder, Beg, and Curse. "Naked and Red," "Swamp," and "A Siren" are good complements for song structure in this area, but they don't make up the bulk of how good and relaxed this album is.
"Elegant View" is the best Colour Revolt song to date. I remember seeing them play this live a few months back and was just blown away. This was in the stages of just writing new songs for an album, but I was convinced that this one had to make the final cut for the full-length. Slow at first, the track really shows how the band can interweave all three guitars, giving them separate voices, while at the same time acting together. Coppenbarger's vocal strain displayed here is the backbone to not only this song, but the band as a whole.
Lyrically, Coppenbarger is at the top of his game. "Naked and Red," "Shovel to Ground," and especially "Moses of the South" (where the title of the record comes from) show not only progression, but a man being poetic and honest without sounding over the top or overly vague:
"You're spitting at the Earth
Plunder, beg, and curse
Pure and fearful children flee North
At the sound of the King's horn"
"See It" and "Innocent and All" are the weakest tracks of the album, but still have bright moments within their respected structures, and again, are lyrically phenomenal. "What Will Come of Us" is an old Fletcher song (Fletcher being the band's previous name), and does a great job of closing out the album like a story, building to a climax and then falling off to a conclusion of Coppenbarger repeating, "I'm the better man." The last three seconds of the song are a vocal track played backwards - maybe it will give insight to the new Cloverfield movie if anyone figures it out.
Colour Revolt have crafted a wonderful spring record that will grow as the year goes by. Every time I put this record on in my car, or while doing school work, I find something new in each song, picking apart the album's inner beauty with each revolution of my iPod's hard drive. I know there are a lot more records to come, but I see this staying in my Top 5 as 2008 comes to a close.