Another day, another up and coming British band trying to elbow their way past the competition on a quest to rise to the upper echelons of the national rock scene. On this particular occasion we’re faced with an anthemic, punk-tinged, quintet going by the name of Cold Years. Hailing from Aberdeen and taking more than a couple of cues from American counterparts The Gaslight Anthem, what we have with this release is an EP that is as equally frustrating as it is glorious.
Let’s start on the front foot and focus on the glorious, shall we? First up they have more edge than the vast majority of bands battling for the same space on a very small podium. This not only gives them a much greater crossover appeal to those of a punk persuasion, but also gives them the perfect platform to immediately ensnare any listener who stumbles across their musical offerings. The fact that the production steers away from being overtly-polished and makes for a raw slab of angst-ridden alt-rock only serves to highlight these punk credentials even more.
That said they are also more than happy to delve into a more grandiose bag of tricks in order to leave a lasting impression. Final track ‘Troublebound’ is an anthem worthy of gracing any stage, building slowly to a crescendo that evokes a sense of visceral and untainted happiness. Imagine a man with his arms held high after just conquering Mount Everest. That, in musical form, is what we’re left with to close out this record.
While this is clearly a positive, it’s also the main reason why this EP isn’t as good as it could have been. Herein lays the frustration. There’s a snarling Scottish wildcat prowling in the shadows of this record that is given precious few moments to burst into the foreground. This is a shame on a fair few levels – not least because the band are at their best when they embrace their darker side. There’s a fine line between being a good rock band with punk influences and a great out and out Anarchy-In-The-UK style mob. Sadly, as good as this EP is, the reluctance to fully commit themselves to being something more aggressive is a move that makes it difficult to view this as anything other than a missed opportunity.