Pendulum - Hold Your Colour
Pendulum comes to us from Perth, Australia, and while that has nothing to do with the album or the music, I thought it was an interesting morsel of information. Hold Your Colour is the band's debut full length album, and they brought everything in their arsenal in a furious attempt to thrust drum and bass out into the world, and into the spotlight.
We must start off with the album cover, which depicts a human eye surrounded by some combination of bright colors and white orbs. I can't describe anything that's going on, but I'm pretty sure this whole cover was designed with the intent of causing as big a mindfuck as possible. As long as you don't look directly into the eye, it's not as disturbing. The whole theme of the album is to mess with your head. Whenever I closed my eyes to visualize what I was listening to, there was this sensation that I was losing my grip on reality. The songs aren't scary by any means; they just have a way of putting you in a trance while you're listening. Imagine an acid trip taken through a mixture of Wonderland and Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.
The songs don't vary that much. There's a consistent structure of fast beats, but it's what gets thrown into the mix at every turn that make most of the songs a joy to listen to. There's an interesting introduction where quotes from The Twilight Zone are spoken over a soft orchestral track. It was very spooky and really put me in a good listening mood. From there it transitions beautifully into my favorite song; "Slam". Everything from the funky opening to the lyrics taken right from the intro make a really solid song that helps build momentum. Sadly, the pace dips from there and it doesn't get back up to the same level. This is partly because each song is at least 5 minutes long. There are certain songs when that amount of time is necessary, but Pendulum doesn't seem to know what to do with all of it. The track will keep repeating itself with nothing building up, and no cuts to quick solos. It doesn't make for entertaining music unless you're a fan of jumping around for several hours in a dimly lit club with hundreds of sweaty people.
There's nothing wrong with Hold Your Colour, it's a great listen and something different in a market that is plagued with cookie cutter bands. I found myself getting bored with some songs because they simply would not end. There are truly unique ideas in here, but they are buried under ridiculous track lengths. This album was definitely an experiment, and there's nothing wrong with experimentation. Sometimes you strike gold, and other times you come up empty handed. I think if Pendulum harnesses this sound, with a little refinement, the next album will become an instant classic. It's worth a listen, and at the very least, it's a great substitute for hallucinogenic drugs.
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