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Cola - The Gloss (Album Review)

Tuesday, 18 June 2024 Written by Jack McGill

Photo: Craig Scheihing

Moving on is hard. Moving on from something that worked is even harder. Cola rose from the ashes of Ought after the great Montreal band had run its course, all of its precious art-rock ore used up. They dove in at the deep end of a new sound, with their moody debut ‘Deep In View’ trading in sophisticated and wordy post-rock, but now they appear to have reconciled with their former selves somewhat.

Without retracing their steps, ‘The Gloss’ embraces the best qualities of Tim Darcy and Ben Stidworthy’s experiences in Ought and, subsequently, Cola. Past and present flirt with each other, and a neat vein of jazz runs throughout tracks such as Bitter Melon. 

Jaw-clenching tempos drive Down To Size and Pallor Tricks, which are laden with jittery guitars that recall an itch that must be scratched.

Elsewhere, Darcy has a ready supply of hooks, turning to a vocal delivery that draws out the melodic potency of Julian Casablancas’ work fronting The Strokes.

A slight disconnect occurs between the eminently singable refrains and Darcy’s lyrics, which remain somewhat inscrutable. It’s sometimes jarring to wait for the epiphany to land after you’re done with singing along, but ‘The Gloss’ has means of covering for this issue. 

The guitars glisten, and when Stidworthy’s bass hums just right it warms you. Evan Cartwright’s drums, meanwhile, are intricate while feeling off the cuff, bringing an element of class and seriousness to proceedings. Cola seem to know what they’re about — even when embracing simplicity to its fullest, they are compelling.


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