In last year’s Psych Noir piece, Lola Colt was the key focus in the section titled, “Guns, Peyote ‘n’ Dark Highways.” Their evocative debut Away From The Water (Fuzz Club, 2014) brought to mind garage noir pioneers like The Scientists, Gun Club, Gallon Drunk, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Italian western composer Ennio Morricone, post-punkers Au Pairs along with psychedelia and the lyrical B-movie revels of Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats. While no single track ever disappointed, even B-sides like “Boom Boom Blasphemy,” “Time To Burn” and “Diamonds,” it seemed the band had plenty more potential for growth.
While a lot of bands keep a laser sharp focus on their musical style, which can be a good thing, Lola Colt’s world manages to be dark and menacing but also expansive and traversely. Their second album is the manifestation of that vision, touching on Israeli folk and North African percussion with the psychedelic boldness of peak Jefferson Airplane and Siouxsie & the Banshees, at least their spirit firmly packed away in their DNA, but the sound easily discerned as their own.
They kick off the album with “Gold,” also the first single, a menacing funeral stomp with slashing post-punk guitars that sets a suitably heavy mood. “Dead Moon Jeopardy” has a more ethereal, psychedelic feel with shimmering, liquidy Eastern-tinged guitar lines and organs that would have fit in with early Teardrop Explodes and Echo & the Bunnymen. While “Eagle” sounds deceptively simple with it’s stomping backbeat, the band shines with some really complex melodic lines and layered sounds that reveal themselves more with each repeated listen. A choice headphone trip.
Next is the album’s centerpiece, the 9:40 long title track that builds slowly from a flickering flame to a raging fire, while vocalist Gun Overbye snake dances through it, the band locking into an incessant motorik beat. As it cools off, there’s even some icey synths giving a nod to Kraftwerk without sounding out of place. Magnificent. The “Moksha Medicine” continues the slinky groove for another couple minutes.
“Moonlight Mixing” is another single, with a more overtly 60’s psych beat where go-go dancers would not be out of place shaking their money makers to it. While the video cuts short, the best part is in the album track, which stretches out to seven minutes, which shifts the tempo and allows the band to reach a crushing crescendo with guitars ablaze. “Bones” maintains the furious energy and more crunching guitars. Gun Overbye is in top form throughout, her voice soaring above the chaos like a vengeful siren.
“At War” features a more autumnal feel, with some of Gun’s most intense, personal and unsettling lyrics. The album wraps up with the dizzying heights of “Kilimanjaro,” a breathtaking piece of psychedelia with Arabic acoustic and electric strings, haunting backing vocals and another devastating vocal performance from Gun.
Over the years I see friends, fans, and other music writers experience fatigue from trying to sort through the overwhelming amount of music out there. One can get a feeling that everything worth doing has been done, and become jaded. I think that malaise can be avoided by simply tuning out the noise, and focus on what really hits your pleasure buttons. There’s always someone with talent able to bring subtle, often brilliant permutations to familiar territory. Lola Colt is one of those bands that do right by what I’m seeking out. It’s currently in contention for my album of the year, competing with The Drones’ Feelin Kinda Free.
It might not hit all the same buttons for everyone, but there’s no doubt that “Twisting Through The Fire” is a smoldering album that can reignite the most charred of blackened hearts.