Freezing Cold formed in early 2017 but the three composite members had been operating in the same orbit having spent time together in NYC’s musical community in bands like Bridge and Tunnel, Weed Hounds and Aye Nako. Jeff Cunningham (guitar/vocals), Angie Boylan (currently touring with Sleater-Kinney) and Nick Rice (bass) first emerged with a short 3 track demo EP but have since teamed up with Salinas Records to release debut album ‘Glimmer’.
The Big Apple outfit’s first record is, on the surface, entrenched in a generic rock sound – no sub genres here to speak of, no post-rock, punk-rock, grunge-rock et al, but sonically ‘Glimmer’ shines brightest when Freezing Cold opt to flip their own script and attempt to veer off the well trodden path a little bit. Thematically, the group’s debut turns it’s gaze inward for some self-reflective soul searching, as most of Cunningham’s lyrics reel out like diary entries, some of which are particularly raw and confessional. ‘Pill Box’s isolated guitar and pitter-patter drums ripple with a shuddering melancholy, as the band’s lead singer reflects “what’s forgotten first/the feeling or the words” as if to brood over some harshly received jibes. Shimmering guitar that turns into big, blazing arena rock encapsulates ‘Teenage Insights’, as Cunningham finds himself at the “midpoint between hope and denial”. Whilst exposing a vulnerable, relatable underbelly, the song’s direction to go radio-friendly- widdily-widdily-guitar-solo rock dollops an unwanted pile of cliché on the otherwise openhearted sentiment found at the song’s core. Opening track ‘New Ways To Wait’ falls into a similar trap; it’s blustering driving rock sounds formulaic and ordinary when compared to the dreamy sashays of ‘Parentheses’, a song rooted in urgent drums and ducking, weaving guitar motifs. Although, as the song progresses, the option to morph into more of a traditional rock sound dilutes the song’s earlier invention. When ‘Glimmer’ is stripped back to the barebones, it can get a bit cheesy but it’s charm shines through; ‘Skywriting’ is a campfire strum-along, where Cunningham comes to the conclusion he can’t solve everyone’s problems, he can no longer carry the weight of the world on his shoulders “maybe I can’t move every mountain/maybe I can’t calm every ocean”. ‘Squint to See’s pensive, darker toned sparkle, slows the pace down, as Cunningham questions “weigh the chance of fools gold/against the cost of being wrong” as if to ponder the penalty between pride and the possibility of self-imposed shame.
There’s certainly more of a ‘Glimmer’ of hope, when it comes to Freezing Cold’s first album but for record number two, they should consider exploring some of the more abstract sides initially hinted it on their debut LP.
Words and thoughts of Adam Williams