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COLD YEARS
29.09.2024

© Nicole Mago

There are some albums that immediately transcend 3me and space, regardless of genre, while simultaneously capturing the very moment out of which they were born. It’s an incredibly difficult balance to get right, but with their third full-length, Aberdeen’s Cold Years have done just that. Because from the moment A Different Life blasts off with the pounding beat of opener “Over”—a riotous punk anthem about removing a toxic person from your life—this album manages to make sense of a world that’s lost most of it. Simultaneously, it also feels like the record you’ve been wai3ng for to fill the void in your life for your en3re life. That’s not to do disservice to the band’s two previous albums, 2020’s Paradise and 2022’s Goodbye To Misery. Both are heart-torn, emo3onally intelligent, percep3ve records, but there’s something truly special about this one. You can feel it in these songs. That’s something the band—Ross Gordon (vocals/guitar), Finlay Urquhart (guitar) and drummer Jimmy Douglas—no3ced as well.

“This is the first 3me I’ve ever come out of a studio able to listen to the tracks, where—and I say this 100% with convic3on—we went in and did everything we wanted to do and more,” says Gordon. “I’ve never done that. I’ve always come out feeling like we could have done something be[er or different. But this album changed the game for all of us as a band. We’re all huge fans of music, and it covers a huge amount of ground. We didn’t just do twelve tracks that sound the same. We tried to make things a li[le different. That happened naturally, and it’s the most musical experience I’ve ever had. I definitely feel a confidence with this record that I didn’t feel on the others.”

Recorded with Bre[ Romnes (I Am The Avalanche/Crime In Stereo) at the Barber Shop Studios in Hopatcong, NJ, A Different Life sounds confident, too. The band went in with the idea of deliberately making a rock record, something increasingly rare these days as the genre has slipped somewhat outside of the mainstream. But it also afforded the band the freedom to test and explore those different waters, both in terms of the genre itself and the band’s own sound. A_er that opening blast of “Over”, the record con3nues with the scorching energy of “Roll With It”, a song that boasts one of the most infec3ous choruses rock music has heard in recent years. ‘Instant classic’ is a term that gets bandied around far too o_en these days, but one listen to this song and you swear it’s been bubbling in your veins forever. That feeling constantly repeats as the album progresses. The faster, more up-tempo songs like “Radio” (a joyously melancholy track about leaving the small town you grew up in, and people who you grew up with, behind), “Choke” (an incisive invec3ve about the current poli3cal state of the UK) and the (self-)contempla3ve “Youth” all posi3on Cold Years as a band who aren’t just ready to take things to the next level, but have reached it already. It’s far too easy to imagine those tracks—not to men3on the inspiring carpe diem of “Let Go” and the sno[y, breakneck punk of album closer “Die Tonight”—filling arenas. Indeed, they come off as ready-built for cap3va3ng that kind of audience.

But there are also plenty of tender, beau3ful moments here too. “Sick”, a song that focuses on Gordon’s troubles with insomnia and the nega3ve thoughts about himself that arise from it, starts as a slow- burning ballad, but slowly swells into a powerful anthem of defiance. You can already picture the thousands of lighters swaying in 3me to it. Elsewhere, “Fuck The Weather” is a doo-wop-inspired tribute to Gordon’s other half, “Other Side” is a stripped-back acous3c tune that updates the tradi3onal folk ballad for these troubled 3mes while also addressing the personal issues Gordon has endured over the past year, and “Low” is an epic, slow-marching, moody rocker that gives any Green Day song on American Idiot a run for its money. And then there’s “Goodbye My Friend”, which sits, literally and figura3vely, at the center of this record. An incredibly personal song, it’s riddled with pain and vulnerability and demonstrates how these songs are both intensely personal and universally relatable.

That’s another difficult balance to strike, but it’s one—once again—that Cold Years have executed with precision, capturing the collec3ve trauma of the pandemic through Gordon’s own experiences.
“No-one was going to come out of the last four years in one piece,” he says. “It was too fresh on the last record to write. I’m in a much be[er place than I was when we were wri3ng this album, but it was pre[y tough. There are a lot of songs about how you should push a lot of the bullshit aside, and I really try to do that, whether that’s people or jobs, or just circumstances that you keep finding yourself in. There’s a few songs in there about geeng rid of nega3ve people, which is a big thing for me. I was always too scared to do that. I’m a people person—I don’t necessarily like every person I meet, but I don’t want to piss them off either because I’m not a fan of confronta3on.”

It also delves deep into his psyche. He’s never been afraid to confront his demons, but he does so in unflinchingly honest fashion here.
“I got ground down a_er COVID,” he con3nues. “Going back to reality and having to put my nose to the grindstone again and work a regular job in the dark for five days a week and just be really fucking miserable, because we weren’t geeng tour offers that we wanted, we weren’t on the road as much as we wanted to be, and it was a really hard 3me.”

That hard 3me is infused into the blood of this record. It’s one which pits the joys of being in a band with the tangible difficul3es that come along with it—being on the road constantly, missing the people that you love, being enervated by the necessary tedium of life outside of the band. It was all in much sharper focus too, because the majority of Gordon’s friends who aren’t in the band have been se[ling into the kind of life that society expects. Compounded by the strains of touring and planning for this new record, it all seemed a bit overwhelming when the band finally got to the studio. Thankfully, they were able to use that 3redness and that overwrought wretched feeling as fuel for the fire, even if it took some 3me for Gordon to realise what this record is about. So while it might have been rough, the end result is a truly triumphant album that, otherwise, probably wouldn’t or couldn’t have been wri[en. And that would have been a dreadful shame.

“All of us were fucked when we went into the studio,” admits Gordon. “We’d come out of a year of touring, a year of wri3ng, a year of working really hard to make it work financially. We were all broken, but going in there and being in that environment and having good people around us gave us the energy to push through. I look at all my friends who are geeng married, se[ling down and having kids. I’m not ready for the picket fence just yet. This record’s about challenging normality and making your own future, because you want a different life to everyone else. You miss a lot doing this—weddings, birthdays, anniversaries—so it’s this immense personal sacrifice, but it’s absolutely worthwhile.”

This album is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, proof of that.

Event auf den Merkzettel

Tickets

Datum / Beginn Location Ort     Stamp
2024-09-29So 29.09.2024 20.00 Uhr BADEHAUS Berlin   Tickets ab 27,00 €
Tickets
COLD+YEARS|2024-09-29|20:00:00

Die angegebenen Preise sind Kartenendpreise inkl. gesetzl. MwSt., inkl. Vorverkaufsgebühr, ggf. Bearbeitungsgebühr, bzw. Ticketsystemgebühr zzgl. Versandkosten.


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