Britrock has had a tough couple of decades. In the nineties, we were producing bands like The Wildhearts, Terrorvision and The Manic Street Preachers. Sadly, recent years have seen that section of British music struggle to gain any traction. The occasional bright spot aside, we haven’t had big rock bands. Or at least we didn’t.
Because the rock is beginning to shift and there might just be some music ready to crawl out from under there. Change is coming, and you can feel it. Whether it’s Marmozets or The Xcerts, rock and roll is alive.
And you can add Cold Years to the list of bands to watch. Coming out of Aberdeen, Northern Blue is their third EP. These four tracks certainly seem to hint at a bright future.
Opener ‘Seasons’ sets that mood right from the start. It doesn’t sound like music bred from the cold granite of Aberdeen. No, there’s warmth and soul with an anthemic chorus that twists its way into your brain. Northern Blue should have been born on the long highways of America, and it’s only the twinge of the Scottish accent that reminds you that’s not where they make their home.
Although even with the accent, it’s clear that those American bands have shaped Cold Years. ‘Miss You To Death’ is pure Gaslight Anthem worship and it strays far too close to that sound. It’s a good song; you’re just left trying to figure out whether it’s a cover or not. Of course, if you’re going to borrow you might as well borrow from some of the best. Cold Years have come close to capturing the magic of those bands and that’s impressive.
However, it leaves you with the distinct feeling that right now Cold Years are potential. They can write the songs, but they haven’t found their voice. To become a truly fantastic band, they need to grow beyond their influences, take these sounds and make them their own. If they can do that, then we’ll have another fantastic rock band on our hands.