Collegians: “Black Mass” – hugely emotional and provocative

02 Jan 2018 by staff in Reviews
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Collegians occupy a unique place among the constellation of alternative rock acts that have emerged in the last few years. They seem as interested in the pop half of that portmanteau, while still creating a progressive hard-hitting swamp that sprouts elements of rock, electronic, and proto-industrial acts. It’s an admirable path to travel, as a lesser band would just as easily replicate the sounds of mainstream radio or the genre’s past successes. Instead, Glenn Patrick (Vocal, Guitar), Gerry Leigh (Guitar, Vocals), James Leigh (Keyboard, Bass) and Vince Leigh (Drums) have made moves to maintain their path of sonic evolution which they started with their stunning, critically acclaimed and award-winning debut single, “Vaccine”.

In that sense alone, “Black Mass”, the band’s follow-up single is a success.  Collegians have put together a song that throbs and flexes, pitching to the rhythm of slowly gyrating hips and liquid late-night trysts.

However, the poisonous bite that they’ve secretly injected into the mix is a hardline anti-establishment stance that has all the impact of being beaten about the head by a protest sign in your sleep. Hefty, muscular and dark, the music on “Black Mass” makes a big noise that sits somewhere between and angry Depeche Mode and Muse.

Totally different from the more Top 40 chart-orientated “Vaccine”, “Black Mass” is another excellent good track finding Collegians capable of still thrilling and intriguing but in a completely alternative manner.

Deeper, darker and edgier, it’s a very good thing when a band shows such creative diversity so early on in their careers – considering that Collegians only got together in 2014, and signed a deal with music label Cultivator Records in 2015. Some of the synth parts here sound huge and are also pretty experimental for a band who you would expect to be straddling the globe’s arenas in the near future.

The melody is almost pure pop in the chorus too, juxtaposing perfectly with the grinding and angular electro-rock soundscape. What Collegians have done with “Black Mass” however, is continue to push themselves, refusing to rest on the laurels of their captivating debut single and produce a follow-up track that is relevant both sonically and lyrically and that is perhaps more than most people would expect from a sophomore release. Persevere with this single as there is a lot to love here.

I know I’m only judging from two songs, but this Melbourne-based, Australian band, seem to have a tendency to write music which is not just hugely emotionally provocative, but containing a particular combination of quiet despair and trepid hope.

Though indulging totally different themes, you can hear this common mantra purveyed in both singles. Through their songs, Collegians raise some important questions about the nature of humanity and our world today.

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