To all extent and purposes Coalition the debut album from US rock band Careless has been 25 years in the making. With half of the tracks that make up the album written and recorded in the 80’s and the remainder post 2008, the album has been on a long journey to realisation but now it has unveiled its great rock sounds the album is a definite welcome addition to this year’s releases.
The journey began in the early 80’s when guitarist Walt Kosar and drummer/vocalist James Collins met whilst attending a college in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Finding mutual musical minds and loves the duo began writing and recording music together. Bassist Nolan Ayres was added to work on these initial songs and their home recording via a Tascam 234 4 track cassette machine. These songs ‘Curtains’, ‘Boundaries’, and ‘D.F.M.’ open up Coalition continued by tracks ‘Out of Control’ and ‘Blackened Walls of Freedom’ which were also created at the time. Life, circumstances, and opportunities etc came into play and the guys went their separate ways, losing touch over the years. Despite the members being in different geographical regions 2008 saw Kosar with the aid of modern technology find and make contact with his band mates. This resulted in the band revisiting the older material and working on brand new songs, the result becoming Coalition.
As mentioned the 80’s written songs make up the first half of the album and apart from the actual song quality the notable thing is how easily and seamlessly they play against the newer material. There is not a majorly distinct difference to the sound quality to tell the music was created and recorded two decades, apart at no point does Coalition particularly feel like an album of two parts. Opener ‘Curtains’ reveals the band’s influences and love of 80’s new wave of British heavy metal bands with its clean and melodically powerful guitars which often unveil intriguingly surprising meanderings and the strong but never indulgent vocals of Collins. The other thing that shines is the great bass play from Kosar; every track pulsates with his honed ability and imaginative lines.
The early songs like ‘Boundaries’ and ‘Out Of Control’ continue this flavoursome rock sound , vibrant and fresh sounding despite the material’s age it engages the ear eagerly ensuring all classic/hard rock fans will find much to get excited over. These songs carry a Maidenesque essence too that ignites thoughts of the times the songs were spawned from.
The newer songs have firmer steel to them, a metal edge that demands attention without deliberately abusing the ear. Tracks like the excellent ‘Against Stupidity’ and ‘Contend In View’ with its commanding riffs and frisky solo, stand as confident examples of the quality songwriting and individual skills of Careless. The new songs also feature a grouchier bass from Ayres, his riffs veining these later songs with even more depth to feed all primal needs.
For all these great songs the ones that actually made the deepest mark are the three instrumentals on Coalition. Each is strongly different to themselves and the rest of the album to show the diversity of the band. ‘As Time Passes…’ is an emotive piece with wonderful guitar work from Kosar against atmospheric keys, its beauty sparking emotions within the listener. ‘Between the Mayhem’ is a similar piece with this time the delicious bass of Ayres having full reign minus the keys. To some these tracks might feel like fillers or indulgences but with their quality and satisfying effect they more than deserve their worthy inclusion. The third ‘5ive’ is the best, a cyber energised rhythm creation from Collins that would grace any sci-fi movie soundtrack. As with the other two it explores and gloriously reveals the talents of the members of the band.
Coalition is diverse, strong and most of all very enjoyable. With all indications that the album is the start of a sustained stay by Careless it suggests future glories as well as current pleasures that will light up the senses of all rock lovers.