A Cool Sounds gig takes you on an hypnotic guitar-pop journey

A Cool Sounds gig takes you on an hypnotic guitar-pop journey

Cool Sounds
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Words by James Robertson
Photos by Matthew Shaw

The band delivered a tasteful set that included cuts from their fantastic 2018 LP, Cactus Country.

A prominent Melbourne band in the chilled-out indie sphere, Cool Sounds celebrated the release of their new single and forthcoming US tour with an inspiring gig at Yah Yah’s, displaying the band’s collective skills and starry-eyed songwriting.

On the warmly lit stage, the five-piece band slowly crept into gear with the softness of ‘Dirt’, a course guitar ballad that sets the group’s somnambulist style in motion. Soon after they were revving up to a burst of last year’s single ‘Cassandra’, which soon set heads a bobbing. ‘Wrangler’, like many of their songs, substituted its catchy saxophone solo with an emulated guitar lick, which worked fine for the song but still made you wish for some presence from the woodwind instrument.

The mixing of their tracks was perfectly balanced and allowed each instrument to be heard, including the vocals sung in a wistful, meditative way. The solid bass lines were chunky and crisp to hear and the oftentimes simple synth notes swirled dreamily throughout the mix.

The band weren’t much to observe however, as probably the most interesting thing that occurred was when the bassist and guitarist swapped instruments for one tune. The lead singer would stare out above the crowd, almost unblinking the whole time.

The title track from 2018’s album, ‘Cactus Country’, was the most substantial hit of the night. Garnering the biggest singalong to the chorus, the song’s catchy riff was well-accompanied by booming chants from the crowd. A slice of great indie-rock, it definitely got the attention it deserved.

Cool Sounds’ latest single, only released last week, may not have garnered a great reaction, despite this being the song’s launch party, but it definitely sounded the tightest of any track the band played. ‘Around and Down’ demonstrated the loveliness of Cool Sounds’ songwriting and allowed for memorable guitar work to take centre stage.

The night came to a conclusion with the band’s set just tiptoeing over the half-hour mark. For some, it was a set cut short given the myriad of tracks left off the setlist, yet the tightness and fluidity of the band made up for any unwelcome brevity. Good luck in Europe, Cool Sounds. This is a band on the rise.

Highlight: Cool Sounds were tight and mixed well to allow appreciation for each instrument.

Lowlight: The shortness of the show.

Crowd favourite: Their biggest track ‘Cactus Country’.