Colossous : Vanarchy in the UK EPCEG Records : 10.11.2017
Colossous is the recording name of singer, songwriter and composer Rich Eardley, who has important past form. When Eardley moved to North Wales in the early 90s he joined the band Melys on bass guitar, and went on to record eleven sessions for BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel. Melys built an international reputation and reached the stages of the SXSW Festival in the USA - more recently in 2016 they toured the UK with poet Simon Armitage's favourite indie band, The Wedding Present (I am paraphrasing a bit here, but that is what Armitage's laugh out loud funny collection of prose Gig - The Life & Times of a Rock-star Fantasist says to me somewhere around page 232). That is enough renown and association with the gods to make Colossous' new release worth at least half an ear.
So to it. Freeway in Texas opens the set - a rock road trip that coasts along the empty freeway of its chorus, driven by a brilliantly simple but expansive guitar line. I Found Out follows it, and sustains the mood of carefree, freewheeling ebullience - again it is the guitar that does it. Maybe it takes half a life time to play in such an uncluttered way and convey so much.
There are two more tracks. Instrumental work out Pen Llithrig Y Wrach starts with a cello then rolls and smokes like the seventies did. Closing piece Vanarchy in the UK is a 'tongue in cheek look at the growing trend of people living in converted motorhomes' - it has a speeding keyboard to replace the guitar lead of the other three compositions, and a satirical lyric with a new wave tone threads archly through it.
There's an island off Venice, Poveglia, were at some points in history people had to stop for a quarantine period before entering the city to reduce the risk of contamination. In exactly the same way all our review music goes first onto a separate USB stick, often for months on end, to check it is fit to go onto the hard drive, lest a rogue EP plague an afternoon of contentment listening to music on random shuffle. The sparkling then rough edged, dynamic guitars and endearing songs of Vanarchy in the UK get it an immediate free pass.
In the best possible sense Eardley is not trying to be overly clever here - it's a straight forward, unpretentious, entertaining EP, and very good indeed for all that.
You can listen to excerpts & buy Vanarchy in the UK at CEG Records Website.
COLOSSOUS I PEN LLITHRIG Y WRACH