Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.

Cobalt Shill

April 15, 2008


April 15 can only mean one thing: 3 days until the release of The Cobalt Season’s brilliantly titled Fragile Iconoclast. But with fortune better than an early tax refund, I actually got the CD/DVD last night (can I be considered a ‘shill’ if I paid for it?).

This EP is probably the band’s best work yet, with great collaboration from a whole slew of talented artists. It is an alluring mix of songs– ranging from slow to upbeat, but all filled with emotion and earnest longing. With that trademark combination of Sharp cynicism and uplifting hope, and with delicious turns of phrase and some sweet grooves. It’s all good the first time through, and it grows on you from there.

The DVD is an especially powerful addition, as it provides a grainy, black-and-white docu-coverage of the gang as they record the album live at Ryan and Holly’s house in San Francisco. In it, you can see the passion that Ryan puts into his music: even on slow, acoustic tunes, he’s got one foot keeping time while the other leg is fairly vibrating with energy. My favorite song from this collection, Water Rising, is set against a lazy rainy day in the city. In it, Ryan deconstructs himself and his music until he ultimately commits himself back to his beginning. The guitar line is so circular and Jared’s bass line is so hypnotic that swaying is involuntary. And through the whole disc, Daley‘s guitar is so mellow and sustained that it sounds more like a string section.

But I’m all about details and liner notes, and so in debt to Holly for the art and layout, and to whoever got Ryan to print the lyrics inside. And I’m glad the videographer made the video so funny, and indulging me in these great highlights:

Ryan singing through a cup.
Daley involuntarily striking the classic rock-god pose in the middle of the Living Room.
Watching Ryan come to a boil as he botches intro after intro to ‘Water Rising,’ until they run out of room on the hard drive.
Seeing Holly’s smile, again and again.
Hearing Jared play some funk, then lift and dismantle a piano.
Craig cracking wise and referencing Spinal Tap while standing in the middle of a documentary.

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