Title: Persistent Malaise
Record Label: Faux Disc/Gringo Records/Italian Beach Babes
Hailing from Brighton, UK, Cold Pumas make a swirling discordant hum that juxtaposes against the popular seaside holiday destination. You won’t find any odes to candyfloss or amusement arcades on the trio’s debut album Persistent Malaise, what you will discover is the motorik clatter of drums and a hypnotic whirr of repetitive guitar lines. When glancing through the press release that accompanies the threesomes’ first effort, it states that the band have been abiding by the law of the three R’s, repetition, repetition and…you’ve guessed it rabies! No repetition. The layers of rough fretwork and throbbing bass make for a record constructed with an industrial tendency, not in a NIN way, more in the shadow of Joy Division and their bleak, almost clinical philosophy.
It’s with an intriguing contrast that when you view the album cover of Persistent Malaise while listening to the looping streams of chiming replication, they jar against each other, one the image of what looks like domestic bliss, they other the infinite churn of fuggy noise that is anything but idyllic. However, through this it would seem Cold Pumas are providing the audio equivalent to marital tedium with their slow grinding wares illustrating the sheer monotony of doing the dishes and evenings in front of soap operas.
Musically Cold Pumas have the whole aloof, disconnected thing mastered, with vocals that are shrouded in reverb which are delivered somewhere between mumble and slur and of course the ever evolving drone of robotic instrumentation, this makes for a one dimensional album. To really bring this first slice of work to life, a few gear changes would be nice. Cold Pumas sound like they could unleash a pacey post punk screamer if necessary which almost comes close with ‘The Modernist Crown’. That said, ‘Fog Cutter’ malevolently unravels with riffs that cut deep and the sort of bassline that could be looped for hours, but neither track hits the same mark as ‘She’s Lost Control’ or ‘Transmission’.
Fully aware it’s unfair to lump Cold Pumas in with gloom merchants Joy Division, but the Brighton bunch do resemble the Mancunians’ with their shadowy slabs of murk.
Persistent Malaise is a fitting title, but the album could do with some light to help disperse the dark, but not too much.