The recent debut self-titled album International Cold Beat by International Cold Beat is more proof that you don’t need much in the mix to make great music. Miguel Benedito (drums, percussion) and Jason Hofer (guitar, vocals) go at it White Stripes style in that they neglect the low-end of a bass and it wasn’t something I ended up missing. Benedito and Hofer wanted a raw, live sound and they achieved it. First and foremost the way they did this was by actually playing live - something that is becoming more and more uncommon. The songs are raw and immediate but don’t sound under-produced. Don’t get the two confused. The production is on point and I thought they achieved a great sound overall.
Musically, International Cold Beat writes rocking tunes that infuse both pop and blues. The songs are well written and while not every single track knocks it out of the park the band is pretty consistent. They mix up the energy level of songs but for the most part they deliver visceral rock songs that make you want to move.
They kick things off with the bluesy rock song “Don't Let Her Down.” It may not be the most original song I have heard this year but it is a blast to listen to. I couldn’t but help think that this song would be the one best delivered live. The energy is there and it seems like a certified rocker that could get your night going in the right direction.
The next three tracks “Lay Down,” “Hard Land” and “Merchant” are fuzz covered, accessible songs that keep the momentum going. They wisely decide to slow things up a bit with “Hold On.” There is a slight southern Louisiana type vibe on this one that mixes with the I've been on the road too long melancholy.
A distinct highlight was “War.” The song isn’t particularly very different from some of the other tracks but I thought the delivery was especially effective here. As the album progresses there were a number of other highlights, which included “Breath of Life” and closer “New.”
International Cold Beat isn't exactly reinventing the wheel but there are some solid songs on their debut album. This is definitely one I could see spinning again in the near future.
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