In the twenty first century you might be forgiven for thinking that there’s no such thing as new sounds in music; after all, haven’t we already invented everything? In most cases the answer might be yes but having listened to US band Kolars, it’s clear that the future of music innovation is well and truly kicking. Their eponymous debut album, released this week, is a riot of genre defying songs that embrace country, guitar led Americana, glam rock, blues and folk music to name but a few. Throw in new wave and punk and you start to see why the band (husband and wife Rob Kolar and Lauren Brown) describe their music with terms such as glam-a-billy, space blues and desert disco. I spoke to them via skype last week and Lauren described this musical journey as “the way music is going in general – there are more genres and sub genres now, mixing genres to create new ones”.
The album is a product of Rob and Lauren coming together as a duo after the demise of their previous band, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister and as already mentioned, represents many different genres derived from numerous and somewhat eclectic musical influences. I asked both about their musical influences and Rob in particular, as the writer, named just about every type of music since the 1950’s – and what he didn’t, Lauren did. As a writer, Rob says he is influenced by a lot of UK music as well as blues and this is reflected in the construction of the songs on the album. Upon first listen, the album is clearly innovative musically but strip that away and the songs are well constructed that would work perfectly well as acoustic tracks. The opening track, One More Thrill, exemplifies this – and look out for fabulous drumming from Lauren:
Rob says about the origins of One More Thrill, “it started out on acoustic guitar and then turned into a kind of Springsteen anthem and then new wave and punk elements were added. I learnt to be open to all genres of music and not be pigeon holed”. I can definitely say that this album cannot be pigeon holed!
Taken as a whole, all the songs have a strong percussive element which is to be expected with one half of the band having such a distinctive drumming style – when asked about the music she didn’t like, Lauren’s answers were all related to artists with “awful drum sounds”. Additionally, catchy hooks mean that you’ll be hearing the songs for days afterwards. The glam rock influences are apparent too and it’s no surprise to learn that Rob’s favourite period musically turns out to be “glam rock, T Rex, Bowie, it includes pop, great hooks and then you’ve got the androgyny, fun fashion, great drum sounds”. A couple of the songs have definite Bowie moments but with this album, just when you think you’ve got a handle on the music, the tracks take a sharp turn into something totally different. This album challenges you musically whilst remaining very listenable.
Kolars is available here:
Catch Kolars at their remaining live dates – click here.
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