Lola Colt must be the coolest band around. Playing at the Soup Kitchen on Saturday night the crowd were so mesmerised by the aura of cool emanating from the band that if White Light / White Heat era Lou Reed walked in with Nico, they’d be ushered to the back as to not turn the vibes all dorky. Which leaves us mere, drooling mortals to feel thoroughly ashamed.
Lola Colt play rock ‘n’ roll that draws from the sunburnt punk of Radio Birdman as well as the glide and swagger of glam and the swirling effects of shoegaze. This is a band in which a gold sparkling Fender Jaguar looks not only right, but the only reasonable option (Mick Ronson would have killed for it). On top of which you have the spaghetti western holler of Kings Of The Wild Frontier era Adam & The Ants. Maybe also a hint of The Jesus & Mary Chain playing the songs of The The, with Johnny Marr on guitar. Their debut album, Away From The Water has just been released…
Like the best proponents of the art, Lola Colt understand that rock ‘n’ roll should be sexy. Their music is unbelievably sexy. Not in the wear-black-shades, live-fast-die-young BRMC mould or the gritty physicality of The Raveonettes or The Kills, something subtler and more seductive than that. Their music is slinky and sultry. Their music is more about the promise, the temptation. This is sexy in the way that Roxy Music’s ‘Praerie Rose’ is sexy. This is the musical equivalent of the opening sequences to the old James Bond movies. No one has been sexy in this style for years.
It’s all down to rhythm, album purrs along smoothly thanks to the neatly interlocked bass and drums. Talking instruments, it’s credit to the band that they can incorporate an acoustic guitar without starting a riot. The acoustic guitar works incredibly well actually: sounding occasionally like it may have escaped from Crowded House it adds a smooth pop hue to the songs. Elsewhere, the percussion adds a lot of spice to the music. Pleasingly no instrument takes the lead, giving each section an equal footing and the chance to impress. At times the lead guitar is amazing, but the limelight doesn’t fall there. The instruments are all providing space for…
Gun Overbye. Gun is commander-in-chief of Lola Colt, guitar player, singer and shaman. If pushed for a comparison the answer would be the wide eyed intensity of Patti Smith with the voice of Lesly Woods from post punk band The Au Pairs. Truth is comparisons don’t work. Gun is her own creature. Not only does she have a phenomenal voice but she leads the group in an old-fashioned way. She possesses and own the music.
‘Rings Of Ghosts’ kicks off this blistered-in-the-sun album, weaving a musical trip, like The Doors on peyote. ‘Heartbreaker’ is a gorgeous slice of pop that could be Ride out on the town. ‘Driving Mr Johnny’ sees Gun at full flow, flanked by guitar outriders. She even starts singing her own backing vocals while the lead guitar apes an accessible APTBS riff and the bass grooves along. Irresistable.
‘Highway’ is a smoky, drawl with screaming guitar while ‘Moonlight’ shimmers and caresses. ‘Vacant Hearts’ stomps an infectious tribal beat with Tom Verlaine guitars. ‘Storm’ throws up a shoegaze waterfall of noise. ‘White Horse’ starts off softly evocative, not a million miles away from ‘Ghost Dance’ by the aforementioned Patti Smith, before turning into the late night bar room cool of Morphine. ‘I Get High If You Get High’ has the frenzy of a James song (there’s a point, Gun’s voice has a certain Tim Booth quality, warm and soulful… don’t know if she would approve of that comparison, mind). Title track ‘Away From The Water’ takes its time to unwind, like a sleepy rattlesnake, heavy grooves with squalls of noise on top. It has the woozy, sleepy vibe of Echo & The Bunnymen on Heaven Up Here (there’s a point, Gun’s voice has a certain Ian McCulloch quality). Then it stirs in the sky high emotions of The Chameleons.
Every song on this album is a stone cold killer. The album is staggering, it’s as if Lola Colt have taken the best bit of music from the 20th century and improved it.
The bottom line is that there is nothing on this album to dislike. In fact, there is only everything to love about this album. Like guitars? Like rock ‘n’ roll? Like catchy tunes? Like a great singer? Then you must, must, must buy a copy of Away From The Water, it is an unqualified, resounding success.