James and The Cold Gun  –  S/T  (Loosegroove Records)

Full length debut from the Cardiff band featuring former Holding Absence bass player James Joseph who switches to vocals/guitar, a role shared with the ‘other’ James – James Biss. When I first heard J&TCG (pre lockdown I think?) I described them as a mix of Queens of The Stone Age and shoegaze, and although I stand by the QOTSA reference, there’s maybe a tad less remaining of the Shoegaze/Indie leanings; thankfully this hasn’t been to the detriment of the band’s sound. Opening Track Chewing Glass sets the album up nicely; a choppy beast of a song dominated by an attacking downstroke riff that Josh Homme would be proud of.

Although the indie influences are less evident than on the bands earliest recordings they evoke more than a touch of the Cure on Bittersweet, another highlight of Side 1, which closes with My Silhouette a bristly little belter with a pinch of Hot Charity era Rocket From The Crypt about it. Side 2 opens with a complete change in pace – an acoustic Grey Through The Same Lens shows there’s more to J&TCG than rifferama; a subtle, sombre number that demonstrates the range of dynamics the band possess in both song writing and execution.

Introspection seems to be the watchword on Side 2 as a whole, with a few more nuanced elements breaking up the intensity of the riffs, exemplified by album closer Three Years which pulls all the threads together. Without doubt one of the best new bands out there – and their live performances are simply phenomenal. Ian Pickens

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