Say Psych: Album Review: The Common Cold – Shut Up! Yo Liberals

Musically Preston has hasn’t had much to offer to the world for a while, but that is set to change now with the release of The Common Cold’s much anticipated debut album, Shut Up! Yo Liberals on 11th May on the legendary Action Records. Formed by two friends Ajay Saggar and Mark Wareing, the duo had served time in legendary Peel favourites “Dandelion Adventure” many moons ago. Two years ago they took to the stage for the first time together after nearly 30 years to play a set of psych jams. Leading on from another similar encounter the year after, the whole experiment moved forwards another giant step when Ajay wrote all the music, and Mark wrote the words to a set of songs that are now to see the light of day in April.

Featuring a double drummer attack (the recording features former members of Cornershop and Pram), the album propels forward with a crisp crunch, but allows enough space to let heavy melodies flow which create a head spin. Opening with ‘Stop the Traffic’ we are instantly immersed in heady guitar riff interplay, a catchy drum beat and distant, repeating vocals. ‘The London Look’ starts with a strong drum tap before moving swiftly into layers of fuzzed up guitars, reverberating vocals and an overall catchy countenance. The track leads into the bizarrely opened ‘Napoleon’s Index Finger’ with its sound of chaos and provocative lyrics which tell an interesting tale.

‘Half Nelson Headlock’ has screeching guitars, beeps and bleeps and a motorik drumbeat. The experimental noise that takes hold could easily have come from an early krautrock record and adds something a littler different to the track than its predecessors. ‘Low Winter Sun’ is a different entity altogether, with a flute thrown in for good measure, but ‘Bored of the Bayou’ returns to the style we’ve come to know, expect and admire. It is a pacey track with lots going on musically so that attention is constantly being drawn to competing elements and ‘Tapped’ continues this idea, with added haunting harmonica elements.

‘Pretty Julie’ starts with a lengthy instrumental, channelling some stunning world music vibes before descending into electronic carnage, hearty guitar riffs and the now characteristic vocal style takes a hold and won’t let go. Concluding ‘Body Language’ is spoken rather than sung and is an interesting end to an interesting album.

The Common Cold have created an album here which will appeal to the hearts of psychedelic fans as well as channelling a bit of Britpop to boot. It’s an unusual combination, yet somehow it works!


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