VENUE 229, london DATE 12/04/2018
Hot on the heels of the russian Circles explosion and jostling alongside the progressive instrumental forays of bands like Scale The Summit and Intervals, post‑rock instrumental outfit Coldbones’ release of Where It
All Began comes at a good time.
Unfortunately, it’s not good enough to fill the venue, and with the room less than half full, we can’t help but feel a little sorry for the Kent trio, who have spent the last week travelling the UK for their album launch tour. Still, it’s early days, and if the strapline on their social posts reading “This is only the beginning” is an indication of their optimism, a thin crowd won’t dissuade them.
At a succinct 32 minutes long, Where It All Began is a little short to warrant a full‑blown headliner show, and so Coldbones don’t appear on 229’s stage until 10.15pm. Funnily enough, the 45‑minute set works in their favour, highlighting their tightly packed but no less affecting waves of sound, which avoid the often self‑indulgent characteristics of post‑rock. The venue has a student nightclub vibe, but its acoustic set‑up lends itself perfectly to an atmospheric battering, and with an extra two musicians in tow, the band enjoy exceptional sound quality.
They begin with a few songs from the new album, peaking with the title track. It builds from a gentle twinkle, with Max’s percussion providing the pivot, to a smash of reverberation, high‑pitched tonal shards cascading from Jordan’s guitar.
Having a touring keyboard player and second guitarist turbocharges the sound, and suddenly it feels like we’re in a much bigger venue, or on some barren windswept hinterland. Similarly, New Heights uses the quiet‑loud motif to great effect, echoing the emotional peaks and troughs of Deftones.
While still bleakly dark on stage, save for some string lights, the kinetic energy unleashed by the musicians as they reach the crescendos brings the performance to life.
Without a vocalist, Coldbones rely heavily on the instrumental narrative, and while this works on their new material, a turn to earlier work from the Distance eP shows a few cracks in their method. Working to a slightly staid template of repetition, the less developed approach on songs like
The Hands Between Us becomes a little mundane.
However, they return to the present and show real invention on an uplifting outing of the jangly, 90s‑inspired Decay, and with the dynamic slices of metallic guitar on Moments. In one final wallop of strobe‑drenched tremolo, they leave their mark.