Awake for Days, Shrunken Head
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The Florida quartet’s fifth album and first since 2005 weaves together twelve tales of heroism, heartbreak, and healing. On Superfiction, Cold combine vivid, vibrant storytelling with elegant rock. It’s a combination that the band has perfected since they burst onto the scene in 1998 with their self-titled debut. Cold preserve the alluring darkness that made t
hem a rock mainstay with 13 Ways To Bleed On Stage (2001), Year Of The Spider (2003), and A Different Kind of Pain (2005), while honing their approach into an intricate, introspective, and inspirational style.
New songs like “Wicked World” teeter between a primal guitar crunch and airy choral poetry. Meanwhile, “So Long June” builds from a lilting melody into an entrancing hook. On “The Ballad of Nameless,” A somber piano gives way to a bombastic beat before breaking into one last vocal exorcism. Cold—Scooter Ward (S.W.) [Vocals], Jeremy Marshall [Bass], Sam McCandless [Drums], and Zac Gilbert [Guitar]—have certainly tread similar ground before on hypnotic radio hits such as “Just Got Wicked” and “Stupid Girl,” but their latest offering is the next chapter. Due out July 19, 2011 via the Eleven Seven Music, Superfiction is an open book just waiting to be read…
For Cold, Superfiction brought them back to their very roots. “The main idea was to go back to the lyrical fiction of the first and second records,” recalls Ward. “This album isn’t so real and emotional. Rather, it’s comprised of these grand stories, and it’s the most fun we’ve ever had making a record.”
2011 was the best time for Cold to return with album number five. After nearly a decade on the road and making albums, the band took a much-deserved break in 2005. After four years, they realized how crucial Cold was not only to the members of the band but to the army of fans that they had touched. After regrouping for 2009’s highly successful “Resurrection Tour,” these four musicians promptly entered the studio to record what would become Superfiction. The dynamic was instantly different once they hunkered down in Ward’s home studio.
“We’d really matured as people,” says Marshall. “When we first came out, we were full of angst. Now, we think about everything before we jump. We have a more reserved attitude and, as a result, we’ve grown as musicians. We’re not kids anymore.”
McCandless echoes that sentiment. “The break made the band stronger. We had the privilege of touring before we wrote, and it was incredible to play in front of our fans again. When we hit the studio, we were hungry. Cold has this eternal chemistry because we grew up together. That made it even better for us to go in and write a new record.”
Tapping into that chemistry, the band wrote and recorded the bulk of the album over the course of a mere month. That urgency colors the album’s landscape, and there’s real soul in each note. Co-producing with Kato Khandwala and Jeremy Parker, Superfiction sees Cold growing.
Sonically, the trademarks of Cold’s sound remain intact. The bellowing bass, warm guitar hum, and driving drum beats all make for impactful music just like it did when the band first formed in 1996. Marshall goes on, “We like certain tones. We’ve always played in a lower key, and you learn how to use that to your advantage when you’re trying to create emotion and accent certain lyrics and melodies. It took us years to develop our songwriting style because we tell stories with our music, sometimes we were a little rawer back in the day. Now, we’ve refined that sound we have.”
The sound has a degree of refinement, but listeners can still fall into Ward’s words the same way that they did on classics like “End of the World” and “No One.” “I don’t think the message is different,” declares Ward. “Even though the songs are fictional, people can still gravitate towards them. I made sure the stories would evoke all emotions.”
Those stories at the heart of Superfiction become the catalyst for a flurry of emotions. Whether it’s the lament of superhero on “What Happens Now” or the ethereal lullaby of “Welcome2MyWorld,” each and every song exists in its own creative sphere.
“It was a journey into a time when I was younger because I didn’t feel confined to write about personal experiences,” continues Ward. “The whole thing flowed. It was liberating. There was no border. I could go from a song about epic royalty to a song about Frank Sinatra singing in a backyard barbecue.”
Ward’s own family initially inspired him to tell these stories. His sixteen-year-old daughter Raven, inspired “The Flight of the Superstar” with her brilliant piano playing, while his younger daughter Cameron’s fascination with princesses and fairytales gave him the idea for “Welcome2MyWorld.” Then, he added his own cast of characters.
Those characters add depth to Superfiction. “As far as I’m concerned the characters in the stories have become real to me.” In order to play these songs live, they have to come across that way.
In many ways, that emotional heft and detailed narrative evokes the ’70s style. McCandless adds, “I hope this album touches people in a way that our favorite bands touched us. I’d love for Superfiction to inspire other musicians to create.”
One big factor in the band’s growth was the addition of Gilbert. He joined the band as a touring guitarist in 2005, but Superfiction is his first time in the studio with the band. “I put my whole heart and soul into it,” he exclaims. “I love recording with these guys. It was a great experience. I learned a hell of a lot.”
The title really sums it all up though. Ward reveals, “Superfiction is art that literally pops off its canvas or foundation. In that sense, it becomes something else. The word wraps up the record because we want these stories to come to life. I want you to sit down and listen to the songs and feel the stories. After you’ve read the story, you can visualize this unfolding in your mind.”
It’s impossible not to feel these stories, and they’re only the beginning. Ward concludes, “If you’re a diehard Cold fan, we delivered the band’s traditional sound. With the lyrics, words, and stories, I want fans to think of the album as Cold’s version of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Superfiction is whatever it makes you feel. I never thought ten years after we made a record, people would still be talking about it. That’s rare, and I want to continue creating music like that.” — Rick Florino, January 2011
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