Have you ever had that live experience with a band where everything is just right? I’m not talking about seeing God, or Led Zeppelin, or even just those fleeting corporeal encounters that end with blowjobs in venue toilets. I’m talking about nights when the music and energy of an event itself takes you as close or closer to those things listed above than you’ve been in a lifetime. I’m also, often, talking about nights that you’ll look back on with slight disappointment when listening to respective albums. The recorded version of God is often rather less majestic than God Himself.
Fortunately I didn’t have to worry about that happening with The Colt .45s. When I saw them live in my friend’s pub in Whitley Bay, I thought they were awful. But I also thought they had the potential to be interesting, and thus by the omniscient powers of Myspace I had another listen. And thus I realised that they were interesting after all, and rather good.
Setting out their stall at the new wave electro end of the punk rock market, Let’s Have An Accident! features electronic drums and a range of keyboards which can on occasions bring to mind Human League or Gary Numan (most notably on ‘Stockholm Syndrome’). Add to this, at least on the better tracks, Ann-Marie’s clipped Siouxsie Sioux clipped syllables (‘Rocket Fuel’) and occasional Sonic Youth-esque moments of awkward guitar intrusion (‘Silver Screen Dream’). They somehow manage to combine all of these elements with something strangely weird and yet comforting. I’m not sure if it counts as a highlight, but the David Lynch circus keyboards of ‘Knife Attack’ juxtaposed with the David Lynch date-rape lyrics are certainly uncomfortably fun.
It’s not all glam and giggles though, and I’d really advise the band to ditch all of the monotone male vocals as quickly as possible. Maybe I’m missing the point, (or maybe, like Martin Amis, I just don’t like people called Keith) but all of Keith’s vocal contributions are grating in the worst possible way, and that’s before I’ve even mentioned the fifteen-year-olds-at-the-bus-stop lyrical insights.
For all it’s easy to compare the album’s individual aspects to early eighties reference points, I also caught stylistic connections to the late glory period of Brit-Pop. I’m far from saying that The Colt .45s sound like any of the current Cool Britannia revivalists, but I can hear references to enough of the bands and moods that I liked when I started getting into music properly, and certainly when I started getting involved with making music of my own: Elastica; Mezzanine-era Massive Attack; Golden Greats-era Ian Brown. Again, I’m not trying to sell you The Colt .45s on strength of their influences, but on account of the fact that this album is a great way to spend some Colt .45 minutes.