July 24, 2017

EP: COLIC - Near

COLIC crafts a fascinating study on contrast.

Who knows where the term really originated, but The Cut's article that compiled comprehensive research on one generationally-relevant hue has launched the idea of “millenial pink” into the public conscious like a hollow-tipped bullet. Hell, if you’re reading this on our site, you’re probably looking at the color right now. It’s not just its constantly recurring nature that’s made the color so crucial to pop iconography, it’s the ability of this lighthearted and cutesy pink shade to contrast with a sickly, dark undertone that, let's face it, haunts our culture’s every breath. Millenial pink became synonymous with its own opposite, a bright representation of something serious and sober. In this way, COLIC’s newest three-song EP, Near, is painfully contemporary. Its iconic pink artwork weighs this contrast a priori with the band’s own name. Colic: severe abdominal pain common in infants. What’s not lighthearted and cutesy about that? So it follows that Near is a brief study all about contrast.

The first notes of this short release could easily be an intro to a grimy, basement-recorded hardcore-punk or screamo record. But then they’re followed by soft, Chromatics-esque vocals that border on dreamy much more than they border on grotesque. It reminds one of how Helen, the shoegaze project fronted by Grouper’s Liz Harris, germinated in the beginning as a grindcore band. But somewhere along the way the decision was made to scale back the gore and fuzz behind a wall of distortion, hiding the ugliest parts and allowing discomfort only to peek through at its most vulnerable moments. COLIC’s approach meddles in an uninterrupted darkness, despite its coltish exterior. “Dark Water,” the EP’s second and longest track (a technicality due to an extended bit of silence at the end), has the least edge. Its strange, enticing production puts the plasticky vocals behind synthesizer walls that moan like a banshee. “2 Sided” turns a psychedelic dreamscape lens towards the trope of a flirtatious duet. The addition of a lower-timbre voice adds a moody vibe while the two vocals interact over a buzzing repetition in the back. It’s main interruption: a finishing touch of discordant, almost out-of-place bass line. Brevity, sometimes, can be a blessing - a statement on effective editing and temperament. COLIC’s to-the-point sharpness highlights some of their best qualities. Their detached attitude allows more room for emotional interpretation on the listening side of the stick. There's something unsettling, or even rather cryptic about this work and its delivery. It’s like a dream that sticks with you throughout the day, even when you’re not sure exactly what it was that happened.

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Listen to COLIC on bandcamp


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Elijah Fosl is a freelance music and culture writer who's really bad at describing themselves. They hail from Louisville but live in Chicago where they work, ferociously devouring cassette tapes and local produce. Find them on Twitter at @elifosl