Review: Collide's These Eyes Before - by Corey Goldberg
After the monthish out on the road with Skinny Puppy I returned to the dusty quiet normalcy of my real life greeted by a small pile of accrued junk mail. Somewhere amidst that stack of shredder-destined wastes of postage was a most welcome copy of Collide's new album, These Eyes Before. The record consists entirely of covers. Although I tend to enjoy these outings (I've been hoping for an ohGr covers record for years), I was initially surprised at the selections that reach further into the classic rock world than I had anticipated. But the band allays any fears about the song choices with the superb treatments they offer these tracks. Statik's programming depth, familiar to Puppy fans from his co-authorship of songs like I'mmortal and Pro-test, subtly married to live instrumentation as a setting for kaRIN's singular voice remains the strength of Collide's sound, here applied as a vehicle for some inventive reinterpretations. With its subdued, slinky groove, Collide's Come Together is easily the best cover version of the song ever set to tape. Nights in White Satin, featuring Curve's Dean Garcia on bass, is majestic and ethereal, kaRIN's voice propelled by searing live guitar. It's a pairing that will make you forget classic rock radio ever existed. Bowie's Space Oddity is reborn as a tour de force of programming and effects. Throughout the album, they manage to highlight the strengths of the originals. Their rendition of Radiohead's Creep draws out the song's inner shoegaze core while Depeche Mode's I Feel You writhes in sexy tension. The blistering Comfortably Numb finds the retroactive crossroads of industrial and progressive psychedelic somewhere in the style of a late seventies Eno record. Few artists can pull off a Bowie or a Pink Floyd cover without descending into self-parody and embarrassment, let alone add something unique and interesting of their own. With These Eyes Before, Collide avoids cliches and breathes fresh life into songs that you might have thought too familiar. It only further demonstrates how far above the crowd this band remains.
These Eyes Before is available now from Noiseplus Music.
Jan. 18, 2010