Red Collar: Pilgrim CD Review - Shows at Charleston (7/13) and Piano's (7/14) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Red Collar: Pilgrim CD Review - Shows at Charleston (7/13) and Piano's (7/14)

There is a distinctive 'british' feel to this disc with its precise production, melodic rolling bass lines and atmospheric guitar licks. With the vocal urgency of singer Jason Kutchma and the big hooky choruses, Red Collar's debut CD Pilgrim comes across like New Model Army meets the Hold Steady.

While Red Collar have have big sing-along choruses like Hold Steady, Jason Kutchma's lyrics are a bit more vague than the lyrical story telling of Craig Finn but yet seem to explore many of the same themes. There is a reoccurring theme across Pilgrim about being lost and struggling to find one's way. On a few of the cuts, Red Collar extend this inward-looking introspection to working class anthems about the death of the American dream. Given the current economic malaise, tracks like "Rust Belt Heart" are particularly poignant. Here are some of the lyrics from Pilgrim which are representative of the band's outlook.

- "There's such pain in dreaming, in the failure of attempt but the sting of disappointment is less than the pain of regret...I'm so sick of the cool, so sick of the cost and I'm tired of my hereos always being lost." -- "Radio On"

- "Oh f*ck! Not this shit again! I had a map and a plan but I'm lost, I'm lost. Follow mother's advice or daddy's course. They thought they knew love before the divorce." -- "Tools"

- "Ghosts of glories reign here, clothes are shadows of former selves...They're sending us home one week before we get our pension. 'Clean out your locker, gentlemen, we wish you the best' and then they watched the men walk down the suicide steps." -- "Rust Belt Heart"

Tools, live at the Cats Cradle and the Duke Coffeehouse

With the driving intensity that is captured on this studio recording, these 'ragged but right' anthems should make for a great live show. The band has obviously taken a page from the Dischord playbook as they have the following quote up on their website: "When we play live the goal is always to be able to break down the barriers between the band and the audience. When we can get past the ‘we’re up here playing and you’re all down there watching’ and get to a place where we’re all participating in the same thing, where there is no us and them, that’s when we feel like we’ve succeeded as band, and, in the end, isn’t that what rock and roll is about?

Red Collar are playing Monday night (7/13) at The Charleston in Brooklyn and Tuesday night (7/14) at Piano's.

Red Collar's Website
Red Collar's MySpace Profile