By Jarrett Bellini | @JarrettBellini
Apparently This Matters: The Column
In November 2015, I met a guy at Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta who told me about a band in Nashville with an interesting name: Los Colognes.
My immediate thought was that it was Spanish for The Testicles. It's not.
It's Colognes. My brain heard Cojones.
Either way, I decided to check them out when I got home. And thus began a headfirst dive into their first two albums. I basically sat around and played them non-stop for a week straight.
Now, with the release of their third album, "The Wave," I'm back to binging on one of the best bands coming out of Music City. And it's a completely different experience than before.
I've had a preview copy of "The Wave" for about a month. And, admittedly, at first listen I wasn't immediately sucked right in like I was with "Working Together" and "Dos." This one, I found, took some patience ... but it's ultimately well worth the investment of time.
Because "The Wave" is all about time.
Which is to say that listening to it is like magically going back to the late 70's or 80's. Back when things made sense.
I like to describe Los Colognes' oddly familiar and wonderfully-constructed sound as the bastard offspring of a drunken one night stand between J.J. Cale and Dire Straits.
Which is an interesting visual.
Even more so when you add in some Grateful Dead, who also shows up at this musical orgy. And there's Jerry Garcia clutching a gallon of Häagen-Dazs being like, "I got next!"
That's their sound.
But "The Wave" is a bit of a departure. It has more of a David Gilmour feel to it. Mixed with Toto. And a hint of Men at Work.
Trust me. It's good.
Right from the start, the first track "Sneakin' Breadcrumbs" softly launches the album off with a synth beat from yesteryear that, through the course of ten tracks, anchors a complex vessel of harmonies and hooks.
It perfectly sets the overall tone because, by and large, "The Wave" is a slower album. But it's rife with huge moments that aggressively become a part of your DNA. The first melody that really got me is from the third track, "Unspoken."
You and me / You and Me / Maybe we're jokin' / You and me / You and me / Maybe we're broken
I couldn't get it out of my head.
The most Gilmour-sounding song of the album is a track called "Man Over Bored." It doesn't quite have the hook quality of some of the other titles, but it's the most profound, both structurally and lyrically.
So you made / A mistake / Left a diamond / In the wake / You can't go back / You can't go back / Under the water
There are little gems like this all throughout the record. But it might take some careful listening to pick them out. The gentle and smooth pace, and warm throwback instrumentation, almost begs you to become a comfortable and passive listener. Which is actually quite nice.
Just so long as you also carve out some time to treat yourself to a more deliberate experience. The songwriting shouldn't be overlooked.
We're talking about a wildly ambitious album and a slight change of pace for Los Colognes - one that still hits just the right amount of honest nostalgia and unapologetic homage to be both complimentary, yet totally original.
For a band no doubt teetering on the edge of becoming a familiar name, this was a bold approach to a career-defining album.
"The Wave" took balls.