Cold Harbour - Cold Harbour

When I am killing something with a samurai sword, I do it to Cold Harbour. Or at least I try to. Sometimes you just can't plan these things. The point is, most of the time, Cold Harbour play a genre of spaghetti-western rock that belongs in a Tarantino film (no doubt a common remark). What is uncommon is the obvious love with which they play it.


Cold Harbour are a bit of a Frankenstein unit. Or a ‘local supergroup' if you will. You may remember some of the members from such bands as ‘Murder Murder Suicide' or ‘Taking The Veil'. They got together late in 2003 and since then have been playing a bunch of shows, supporting acts like Dallas Crane, Rocket Science and Tim Rogers to name a few. Their new self-titled EP is a brief glimpse into the mania that the band has become known for. Darting back and forth between spaghetti-western anthems and post-White Stripes rock, it is a surprisingly fresh half an hour of listening.


Opening instrumental track The Country plays out like a classic modern western theme, complete with twangy guitars, grandiose organs and lots of subtle percussive delights. Shifting direction almost immediately, the funky Wasted kicks out the jams. It's a rock song, straight up, and makes no attempt to be anything else.


Loser Leaves Town returns the feel of the EP back to the 19th century plains of southern USA. This time it's more upbeat, like Nick Cave when he's in a good mood. Some might argue it is clichéd and I can appreciate it may seem that at first glance (or the aural equivalent). But there is much more to it than mimicking sounds from the past. Like Wolfmother and Jet, Cold Harbour are revisiting an old genre with an enthusiasm that makes it their own.


Rock ditty Car Chase is along the same lines as Wasted, but takes a more experimental route. Awesome junkyard piano, lazy drums, and perfect guitar tones drive the track along a railroad of self destruction. The closing Tales Of Joy is the standout track, played with a knowing desperation and sorrow that only a screaming slide guitar can emote.


The whole ‘spaghetti-western' theme lends itself to easy wisecracks and lazy comparisons, but don't dare write Cold Harbour off. This music is beautifully crafted and deserves your full attention. If you haven't caught Cold Harbour live yet, you can check them out supporting Beasts of Bourbon at the Prince of Wales in St Kilda this Friday, the 26th of May 2006.


NB Bring your own tumbleweed (couldn't resist).

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