“could easily be the sound of a squadron of tanks invading
the dance floor of some infernal disco”
Forging a completely idiosyncratic combination of power, control, tenderness, miscontrol and more power, Hey Colossus acutely channel the best of your record collections and spit them back out into some quite astonishing shows and releases.
Coming out of London and the South West of England, Hey Colossus are one of Europe’s great live bands. Since 2003 the six-piece has been driving around the continent with their “pirate ship” backline of broken amps and triple-guitar drang, elevating audiences in every type of venue imaginable; a doctor’s waiting room in Salford, an industrial unit in Liege and a vast field next to a river in Portugal. Wherever they may roam.
Hey Colossus have undergone a spectacular metamorphosis in the last three years, since the 2015 Rocket Recordings double-drop of ‘In Black And Gold’ and ‘Radio Static High’. These releases displayed not only a band with a work rate to put most their contemporaries to shame, but one arriving at an atmospheric and rewarding sound with as much flair for the beguiling as the barbaric.
“Standard-bearers for post-millennial British music which is au fait with punk and hardcore while not being punk or hardcore”
The latest release, ‘Four Bibles’ is their twelfth studio album and the first to be released by London label ALTER. Recorded by Ben Turner at Space Wolf Studios in Somerset, it’s their most direct album yet and follows a well-documented trajectory of evolution that began (in the truest sense) with 2011’s RRR for Riot Season and continued across three albums for Rocket Recordings.
Lead vocalist Paul Sykes sounds more in focus than before, dialling down the effects and using reverb/delay to carry his lyrics rather than smother. The band has also fine-tuned to leave some room for extra depth. Piano, electronics and violin (by Daniel O’Sullivan of This is not This Heat / Grumbling Fur) all find a way in amongst a familiar mesh of interlacing guitars, wrapped around a taut rhythm section. Like every other Hey Colossus record before, the line-up has altered and the sounds reflect this.
As guitarist Jonathan Richards puts it: “After 12 years functioning in a noiserock/doom/kraut/whatever scene of sorts and being aware of unwanted repetition, we feel it is more subversive for us to compose songs with rigid song structures than it is to absentmindedly clang off another riff-athon.”
The band talk to CLASH mag about the new single ‘It’s a Low” from the album…
“The song came together pretty easily to start with then mutated into something that was much more intricate, needing really close attention. The now-departed Roo’s pinching of the piano and Daniel O’Sullivan’s dashing viola really lifted the whole thing in the finale. Not our usual mood, but good we can still play with it all 15 years in.”
“Chinks of pop light shine through, but this is still raw uncompromising stuff” The Guardian
After giving us those shimmy-shakes at Centrala back in December for our end of year show, we’re pretty damn chuffed to welcome back pals Hey Colossus to this year’s 15th edition of Supersonic Festival.
It was one heck of a party! Join us for the next one?
Hey Colossus will be performing alongside Yob, Big Lad and Savage Realm at our Friday aftershow party – limited tickets left!
Get your Supersonic afterparty tickets here.