Monday, 12 December 2011

Coalesce – Give Them Rope review for Alternative matter

This reissue of the 1997 debut from Coalesce features not only the original version of the album, but comes nicely packaged with the remastered version released in 2004. Lovers of elaborate time signatures, abrupt changes in tempo and hostile ear-splitting vocal will not be disappointed to hear this album again. The formula throughout the album may be a familiar one to the connoisseur of mathematically precise, multi-faceted rock, but the riffs and the vocals are certainly not tried and tested. Sean Ingram’s vocal takes no prisoners as it erupts over equally less compromising guitar, bass and drums. There is never a sense, however, that the album is awkward or stilted, and the tracks, despite their complex structure, flow effortlessly through the duration of the album.
 It could be argued that “Give Them Rope” lacks variety in dynamism, but to level such a criticism at an album with so much to say, and with such ferocity, would appear to miss the point. In reality the track “I Am Not the First”, for example, is an almost science fiction movie soundtrack of intangible noise which sits disturbingly in between the more familiar territory surrounding it. “This is the Last”, which then follows, descends chaotically into repetition which, to these ears in particular, is a powerful tool to mesmerise the listener into attention, and literally hammer the point home. Elsewhere there are moments, such as in “One on the Ground”, where the listener is carried along on a stream of jarring riffs and discordant progressions that can be disorientating and exhilarating in equal measure. For the listener who is prepared to explore a more thoughtful array of subgenres, “Give Them Rope” is a fine example of what can be unearthed with patience and an open mind.
The production on the original version of the album is, not surprisingly, less clinical, and somehow retains the raw edge that gives music of this calibre its advantage. That said, the remastered version, “Give Them Rope, She Said v 2.0”, allows the listener the opportunity to explore the technicality and skill employed to create an album which clearly has been part of the vanguard of intelligent, yet evocative rock. When one considers the album is nearly 15 years old now, one gets the opportunity to place it into context and appreciate how Coalesce have influenced countless others since.

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