Never a band to settle on one formula, style, or lineup, Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo is the 8th full-length in ten years of Hey Colossus. Their last LP - 2011’s ‘RRR’ - brought them acclaim from some surprisingly conservative corners, and it’s to their credit that they’ve taken a huge leap forward and created arguably their most dramatic record yet.
RRR’s most immediately noticeable feature was swathes of feedback, and although noise is still a big feature throughout, it’s immediately clear that this is some of the most centred rock material they’ve produced in years. The addition of Part Chimp singer/guitarist Tim Cedar on drums seems to have encouraged a renewed sense of groove and momentum.
Opener ‘Hot Grave’ careers along on a two-note anti-riff with guitarist and occasional vocalist Tim Farthing’s unhinged delivery free of echo and pushed up in the mix. He probably never misses a recycling collection in real life, but wonderfully mean-spirited lines like ‘do I regret all the suffering and pain…shit no, you know I’d do it again’ find the band new areas of claustrophobia and menace to explore.
‘Oktave Dokkter’ sounds like The Birthday Party’s ‘Nick The Stripper’ played by sex cases. It’s the ideal soundtrack to an out-of-character ketamine-heavy stagger around Soho’s least salubrious streets at 4am, while still carrying a bag of tattered disco LPs from Music & Video Exchange.
‘How To Tell Time With Jesus’ and ‘Pit And Hope’ dial things back a touch allowing more psychedelic tendencies to shine through and reinforcing the sense that dynamics have never been so important to the band. So often with extended lineups it sounds like half the band are doing 95% of the work with a few peripheral people adding bits here and there. But the wide, clear mix gives every instrument room, it really does sound like eight people playing, and there’s so much going on that each listen unveils something new. It’s focused, incredibly detailed, and dare I say it, alarming catchy at times.
With so many people scrabbling for attention in the noise rock world in 2013, Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo truly cements Hey Colossus’ rep as being a cut above the rest.
Words by James Barry