Somerset Catalog Lonely Fang on LP + Download
Having formed from the ashes of several noted Colorado bands, Somerset Catalog's long history of playing and writing (as well as its collaborative nature) leads to well-thought-out music which sways effortlessly between melancholic pop and jubilant rock. The band makes music that moves between desperate longing and loud resignation - music with an unspoken, lurid past doing dark things that scratch the sheen. Their songs are filled with drum machines and synthesizers, stories of broken elbows and lock-step lives, mania and shaking windows. Adolescent influences like Robert Smith and Robert Pollard shimmer like a hook.
Lonely Fang is a monument to bittersweetness, carved out of jagged and fractured rock, proud in the face of blinding rain and wind. Its direct attack is disarming but never blunt, filtered as it is through poetic rumination. There's wistful, excruciatingly pretty songcraft in the vein of The National and Arcade Fire, and tunes that layer on the keyboard, chiming guitars and harmonized vocals a la the band's biggest influence (and sorta-previous incarnation) Everything Absent or Distorted.
But there's also the upbeat "My Brother, The War," which features no small amount of simmering instrumental tension alongside unspooled lyrical mightiness. There are New Order-quality tones dangling from "Golden Balcony" and "Landing Gear" that demand unselfconscious booty shaking. Anything this textured and bronzed should naturally feel heavy. Instead, Lonely Fang hangs like a silky whole, a navy-blue tableaux of that moment when dusk turns to night, and despair to excitement. Steely. Teary-eyed. Determined.