Album Reviews

This Could Be Okay
Cold Wrecks This Could Be Okay Punk Rock Theory
8.0
 on
Monday, May 6, 2019 - 19:49
submitted by
Thomas

- by Will Malkus

It’s been about three years since Brooklyn’s Cold Wrecks graced us with their first full-length album Breaking, but that doesn’t mean they’ve been resting on their laurels. True to form, they’ve been cranking out local shows nonstop, played The Fest for the last three years running, and released a split, an LP, and a couple of singles in the interim. Not content with just being some of the busiest (and nicest) folks in DIY punk, Cold Wrecks also writes some of the most thoughtful and sincere punk songs around. The four-piece band likes to give themselves room to play around, alternating tempo, vocal stylings, and even genres within one three-minute song and producing a final product that is somehow simultaneously kind of emo, kind of pop punk, and just a little indie rock, though if you ask them they’ll tell you Cold Wrecks only truly falls under one genre: ska. There are no actual horns or upstrokes to be found on their new album This Could Be Okay, but the spirit is there for those who get it. Is it irony? Maybe, they are from Brooklyn after all. But maybe not.

While This Could Be Okay isn’t truly a ska album, it is an incredible achievement that shows serious growth and hard work from the band. From guitarist Matan Uchen’s blues-y opening twangs of ‘In Time’ to the melodic gang vocals and driving drums provided by CJ Dunaieff that end closing track ‘IDK’, this new album is a huge triumph for Cold Wrecks.  Guitarist Mike Vizzi and bassist Craig Shay switch off on lead vocals throughout the album, but where Vizzi’s voice oscillates between the cleanliness of They Might Be Giants’ John Linnell and the rough edge of Dan Campbell doing his best Wonder Years scream, Craig Shay’s vocals contain a softer quality that blends especially well when the two sing harmonies. Shay’s bass and voice are at their best on 'Crossing Sign', where you can also hear the aforementioned harmonies at work. The instrumentation on this record is pretty close to flawless; Cold Wrecks has managed to twist the strands of their guitars, bass, and drums into one solid thread throughout the album, though the best example of this phenomenon is probably ‘Garbage Universe’. There are some impressive mixing tricks in there too: at one point on the same track I realized I was hearing guitars in one earphone and drums in the other. It was a nice touch that really showcases their growth.

The subject matter of This Could Be Okay, as you might expect, is a little bit brighter than their past few releases. Where 2016’s Breaking explored themes of mental health, anger, loss, and what it takes to get through the day, you can track a clear arc across their subsequent releases to This Could Be Okay as the light at the end of the tunnel. Cold Wrecks has crafted a discography that lets the listener feel like they’re growing and maturing right alongside the band, not just musically but emotionally as well. All the Cold Wrecks themes are still present on this record, but everything is a little clearer and a little more manageable now, and there’s a lot of comfort in that. Whatever you do, do not sleep on This Could Be Okay. As a longtime listener I had high expectations for this album and they were all blown away, trust me when I say this is Cold Wrecks reaching the next level as a band.

 

Track listing:

  1. In Time
  2. Crossing Sign
  3. January First
  4. Garbage Universe
  5. The Season
  6. Long Island    
  7. Panicking
  8. Bought Right In
  9. Light
  10. 8mm
  11. IDK