Children Collide – Monument
Mature is a dirty word in rock and roll. It usually means that distortion pedals and excitement have been traded in for ballads and prime real estate in the middle of the road. Children Collide haven’t matured however, they’ve expanded. Following up a ferociously smart debut with more of the same on second album Theory of Everything, these noisy boys have set to challenge themselves and their fans on their third record; Monument gets out of your face and into your head.
Gone are the pummelling cannon fire riffs of yore, replaced with jarring chords that haunt across loping bass lines. The rhythm section of Heath Crawley and the soon to depart Ryan Caesar is still ridiculously tight but underneath the washed out vocals and spare guitars they give the songs an air of menace rather than rocking bravado. Lyrically they are almost indecipherable and seem to serve only as an aesthetic addition to the moods of the instrumentation. This isn’t a slight on the songs though; Children Collide have pulled their punches only to reveal there were razors between their fingers.
Far from the single fest of their first record, Monument is better digested in one sitting, From the march of The Flat Earth to the droning guitars and (shock horror) gated reverb of closer Tired Eyes flows along smoothly, with rarely a hitch. Cherries, Sword To a Gunfight and Prussian Blue are the obvious relations to their more radio friendly festival bangers, but the real strengths are their more psychedelic endeavours.
The Mausoleum sees them leap out into abyss with guitars swirl across their post-punk influences, with no real aim in sight, they just spiral around before being snatched into the big empty; replaced by sparse and unconventional chord progressions akin to Syd era Pink Floyd. The records centre piece My Heart Came Alive is the best of both words. Its rapid fire drums underscore a repeated chorus, bludgeoning the listener, while the guitars and bass are still twisting and turning with their newfound psych leanings.
Their exploration of new sounds isn’t always smooth sailing though; Praying for Sunshine is cringe worthy, Johnny Mackay’s frog throated caterwauling distracts and annoys over a fairly middling new wave plodder. On the other hand, when the band makes an attempt to spark the venom of their early days on Sphere of Influence they don’t seem to put the heart in, making you wonder the point of its inclusion.
Where Monument succeeds is in proving that Children Collide are more than another shouty band from Melbourne. They have the potential for serious growth and evolution and have shown it in leaps and bounds on this record, without losing the identity they have forged on previous albums. With time this record grows to be a commanding sign of things to come and a testament to how they got there.