23 Jan

Of all the adjectives we expected to employ when babbling on at length about “In Black and Gold,” the new album from the U.K. cosmic-crush-collective known as Hey Colossus (out February 9 on Rocket Recordings), “beautiful” wasn’t one of them.


When last we left our heroes in Hey Colossus, we were just introduced to their somewhat unhinged, somewhat indescribable sound, in the form of 2013’s “Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo” – an album we declared had us “breaking out in a cold sweat, trembling, our eyes rolled back toward the back of our head, our third-eye squeegeed quite cleanly, our tongue out, out, all the way out.”

And now? “In Black and Gold” has us returning over and over again to the single, simple word – beautiful. As in, “The first track on the new Hey Colossus album is simply beautiful.”

It’s true. The first track on the new Hey Colossus album (“Hold On”) is simply beautiful. As a song, “Hold On” seems to appear nearly out of thin air, a bit of seemingly inconsequential ambient noise and good Theremin vibrations making the transformation to tear-streaked angels choir in what must be a land-speed record. We hear the angels inquire, “Can you feel that it’s changing?,” before the song reaches its ultimate destination as a stirring yet subdued piece of musical perfection, one we’re only minimally ashamed to tell you has the power to make us weep, even – or especially – after several dozen listens. Ladies and gentlemen, Hey Colossus is floating in space.

So. That’s “Hold On.” Simply beautiful. And “In Black and Gold,” the album as a whole? Simply masterful.

“Sisters and Brothers” follows “Hold On,” a sick sideways shuffle that’s as catchy as it is cantankerous, which is followed by “Hey, Dead Eyes, Up!,” a sort of sister-song to “Sisters and Brothers,” but one that’s less a toe-tapping rhythm a more a series of barely controlled detonations, Venom’s “Warhead” performed by a thousand multi-armed mutants, repeatedly smashing wooden clubs into fully-loaded washing machines. What could it mean when they scream, “Do what you feel feels good – do it AGAIN?” – what could it mean except that we’ve cast our ballot for “Hey, Dead Eyes, Up!” to win “Scream of the Year”? The answer certainly won’t be found within the menacing motorik employed by “Wired_Brainless,” the song that follows and, to these ears, contains the very beating heart of “In Black and Gold” as an album (“We can talk about it – we can slow down”), despite its being followed by the very-nearly title track “Black and Gold,” which probably won’t provide us with any answers, either. “Black and Gold” may very well be the heaviest song on the album, or perhaps the most epic, kicking rocks as it does over a Martian wasteland littered with blown amplifiers, spent hash pens and a cyborg Leonard Cohen positioning the listener at “the center of a story that can now be told.” “Lagos Atom,” something of a robot’s respite or a Dalek’s lament, follows as the longest song on the album, bringing with it the time to briefly consider old, Frosty memories of the high weirdness that was “One In Their Pride.” The penultimate procession of “Eat It” begins with an almost surf-rock-like introductory message, but it’s clear from the beginning that we’re headed for a wipeout. The song is a low, moaning sing-along, dragging and dredging its way across a sub-sludge-swamp, our introduction to the end of “In Black and Gold.” When the end comes, it’s a “Sinking, Feeling.” And we had one all along. And before we know it, we’re back to “Hold On” and weeping.

Can we feel that it’s changing? Perhaps. So what’s changed?

As far as we can tell – nothing. Hey Colossus have only released another massive and magical album. Hold on, indeed.

In Black and Gold” is released February 9 by Rocket Recordings.


“As soon as we sit down the mind is flooded with thoughts, memories, and plans, and our body is not comfortable. We start to have pain in the back, then in the knees, then our cheeks start itching. We try various postures. We want to forget about the past or the future but they come back all the more quickly. Like the oxherder we have to be firm and hold on tightly. There are many obstacles: restlessness, sleepiness, daydreaming, etc. We have to realize that for the last twenty, thirty years we have cultivated many habits which promoted distractions, and when we meditate we go against all these habits. It is going to take some time before we dissolve the power of these tendencies.” – Martine Batchelor




  1. BAND OF THE WEEK: HEY COLOSSUS + HENRY BLACKER | Revolt of the Apes - October 8, 2015

    […] this, our third attempt at sullying the growing-good name of the cosmic-crush-collective known as Hey Colossus by […]

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