It’s always a somewhat nerve-wracking moment when someone that I like and respect sends me a message saying they’ve formed a band and ask if I would consider reviewing their new single. The horrors of what might await when play is clicked and I have to think of a polite way of telling them it’s not really my cup of tea (or indeed that it’s absolutely dreadful) come flooding to the fore. Thankfully in the case of videographer, chronicler of the London independent music scene and occasional Joyzine scribe John Clay and his band Colossus, such platitudes and euphemisms are entirely unnecessary.
The band is completed by bassist Rob Homewood with drums from Andy Sturges. Having existed in various forms since 1997, Colossus was revived during lockdown and they have just released the first fruits of their renewed labours in the form of new single ‘Sharp As a Knife’.
The band describe their sound as “existentialist party music you can bop your thinking head to,” ‘Sharp As a Knife’ delivers on that promise with loud-quiet, stop-start punk thrills aplenty – a chugging riff of wonderfully filthy distorted guitar giving way to sparsely plucked notes beneath Clay’s vocal in the chorus, before all hell is unleashed in the final thirty seconds and it all comes to a pleasingly screeching halt just shy of three minutes as all good party music, existentialist or otherwise, should.
The accompanying video is a nostalgic treasure trove of live footage from Colossus’ previous incarnations, with the band kitted out in superhero t-shirts (Superman for Clay, Batman for Homewood) for gigs at much missed London venues including two of our favourite old haunts, Kentish Town’s Bull & Gate and The Good Ship in Kilburn. You can enjoy it below.
Review by Paul Maps