Cold Beat strikes hot

...just a year after the SanFran band's strong debut, Cold Beat's back with Into the Air

San Francisco quartet's sophomore set impresses...
  • San Francisco quartet's sophomore set impresses...

After a strong showing with their debut LP Over Me last year, punk/electro-pop band Cold Beat is back with Into the Air. Already, the band seems in sync, a feat that could take more than a few albums for a new group to master before they start pushing personal boundaries.

"7 Sisters"

...off of Cold Beat's <em>Into the Air</em> album

...off of Cold Beat's Into the Air album

Bassist/vocalist/primary songwriter Hannah Lew, previously with the San Francisco surf-rock trio Grass Widow, carries the weight of Cold Beat’s vocals. Her strong yet angelic sound acts as a guiding light for the album’s dark points. Add the rest of the band’s playful pop-synth style, and Cold Beat can embody the punk-crossover rebellion of Blondie or the bleeding-heart shoegaze of Dum Dum Girls. Lew's lush voice soars throughout the album — it radiates romantic warmth, mirroring Debbie Harry’s opulent style.

Haunting, isolating melodies and moody soundscapes are what Cold Beat does best, evident in the synth-wave wanderings of the instrumental "Clouds" and the drum-machine and space-rock album closer "Ashes.” But the band can also change its attitude within a song. They build tension with a guitar clang and propulsive drumming on the protopunk “Sisters,” a song that later finds solace in a flowing melody, which was there all along. Compare those textures with the brisk guitar strumming of the straightforward "Am I Dust" or Lew’s heartbreaking indecision on “Broken Lines,” and Cold Beat’s versatility impresses.

  • Album: Into The Air
  • Artist: Cold Beat
  • Label: Crime On the Moon
  • Songs: (1) Bruno (2) Outrunning Shadows (3) Broken Lines (4) Am I Dust (5) Cracks (6) 7 Sisters (7) Clouds (8) Spirals (9) Passenger (10) Ashes

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