Album Review: Hey Colossus – ‘Radio Static High’


My epiphany with Hey Colossus came, as perhaps all musical epiphanies should, in the white hot cauldron of a live encounter.

In my case, that was earlier this year at Eindhoven Psych Lab.

June almost feels like a lifetime ago in some respects, but joy of joys – October brings us the latest Hey Colossus magnum opus, in the shape of ‘Radio Static High’.

By their own admission, Hey Colossus came, “Initially lurching from the UK noise underground in 2003 like a bedraggled audial creature rendered from toxic waste in a VHS horror movie”!

Evolving inexorably forward, “The six-piece London-via-Somerset troupe began 2015 with February’s release of ‘In Black And Gold’ – in which the brawny repetition-driven raunch they built their sound on was furnished and burnished by dub-derived spatial awareness and cinematic drama, making it both a bold reinvention and an uncommonly compulsive avant-rock document”.

As I said at the time of my Eindhoven Review, “How in the fuck I had managed not to find the time to listen to my gold vinyl copy of Hey Colossus’ ‘In Black And Gold’ is a mystery to me! On the plus side, my shambling, ignorant innocence was delivered a wake up call of shamanic proportions. Every aspect of Hey Colossus’ performance, despite or perhaps in spite of the various technical issues, held me totally captive in their spirit-soaring embrace. The unadulterated joy of discovering a band I thought I already knew”…


Photo – Patrick Spruytenburg

Picking up where ‘In Black And Gold’, provocatively laid down the gauntlet, ‘Radio Static High’ delivers 10 further, rapturous instalments of Hey Colossus idiosyncrasy…

Easing us into things,’Radio Static High’, is an unfolding gossamer musing, displaying a fragility and whimsical deftness of touch, it scales the lofty peaks and stands shoulder to shoulder, the equal of any Prog meisterwerk; ‘March Of The Headaches’, is a snarling, splintered, bass busting migraine, a fractured, dysfunctional mind melt; ‘Hop The Railings’, heralds dance floor sensibilities, swathed in avant-grade, new wave experimentalism; ‘Numbed Out’, layers crunchingly esoteric riffs, its jagged, tinctured flourishes, wrestling against the torpor; Homage to Neil Young’s ‘Cortez The Killer’, and side one closer, ‘Memories Of Wonder’, evokes a drifting sense of brooding portent, the malign conquistador, clashing with ancient, magisterial omnipotence, desecrated innocence…

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Side 2 opens with, ‘Snapping Undone’, a detached articulatory, elementally unstable, druidic intonation; ‘Another Head’, is an understated Bowie-esque, chameleo-schizoid, a phantasmagorical fevered intercession; ‘The Mourning Gong’, showcases haunting, ontological balladry; ‘Hesitation Time’, a disembodied radio voiced intro, launching headlong, in reignited primal recall, the frenzied live experience, this will have you bouncing off the walls, “loose yourself” to the writhing rhythmic incantation; Album closer, ‘Honey’, is a post punk kaleidoscopic celebration, an eastern flavoured, surging powerhouse, punctured with barbed anthemic sneering exultation…

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Delivering on the promissory note that was ‘In Black And Gold’, Hey Colossus have cracked it again – “it’s your time”, for this band in clover, make Hey (sic) while the sun shines.

‘Radio Static High’ is a charismatically engaging album, it’s sharp gleaming vistas, radiate with sweeping, crystalline lucidity.

The first pressing of 1000 copies on red vinyl, is available now from Rocket Recordings.



2 responses to “Album Review: Hey Colossus – ‘Radio Static High’”

  1. Bob Avatar

    Top read ! HC are quite prolific aren’t they, but so many good tunes as well, quite a feat I think. And just in time for tomorrow’s Bristol gig, I’ll get back to this review and give it another read after that….Thanks again Chro’, magic stuff !

    1. chromaticism Avatar

      I envy you the live encounter!
      They were on fire in Eindhoven, would have loved a longer set…

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