Album review: Cold Years – A Different Life

Aberdeen’s Cold Years display flashes of brilliance and quiet ambition on their third album, A Different Life…

Album review: Cold Years – A Different Life
Emma Wilkes

Cold Years are aching to move forward. That much becomes clear through the big sonic strides they’re trying to make on album three, but that spirit also fuels much of their lyricism. Whether they’re writing songs about leaving behind toxic people, ditching your mundane hometown filled with crap people for good or recovering from a pandemic hangover, the Aberdeen quartet are fiercely intent on making every possible advance. The desire’s always there, even if it doesn’t always translate the way they want every single time.

As their focus is sharpening, it’s now clearer than ever that when they tap into their potential, Cold Years are capable of great things. Their love of Green Day isn’t so much writ large as it is stamped in big bold font across the album – even frontman Ross Gordon’s intonation smacks of Billie Joe Armstrong’s quite strongly at points – but doesn’t squeeze out their own sense of individuality. Instead, they use that influence as a springboard, with the chunky punk number Low oozing angst and just the slightest touch of grandeur, while Choke properly blossoms when it introduces a spikier edge in its a magnificent punk’n’roll bridge.

They’ve also got a great knack for balladry – the retro, doo-wop inspired tinge to the sweet Fuck The Weather is inspired, while Sick is a slice of emotional, piano-led rock opera genius. Then again, despite these glimmers of greatness, they don’t always appear consistently. Other tracks throughout A Different Life don’t have as much going for them to keep pulling you back in, sometimes lacking the sort of almighty hooks that could make them instantly memorable.

Nonetheless, there’s progress here in a big way. Cold Years are on the way to becoming something even greater, and with some more fine-tuning, the results could be amazing.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Green Day, The Dirty Nil, Lower Than Atlantis

A Different Life is released on April 26 via MNRK

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