Review: Collide – Counting to Zero

Few bands in the world make music that could be described as “beautiful” as Collide. Sweeping synths, gorgeous vocals, the word “big” keeps rising up. There is beauty and grace in almost every utterance from this band. And now, after a bit of a misfire covers album the duo are back with a terrific return to form. Eleven languid, sexy, sometimes sad, always beguiling songs from Statik and kaRIN that represent some of their strongest work to date.

Perhaps less electronic than previous work, the band strike an interesting balance of wailing guitar (and “wailing” serves the *perfect* word to describe the guitar work here) and washes of synths (and “washes” serves as the *perfect* word to describe Collide’s use of synths). The whole thing sounds like a soundtrack for a mid-period David Lynch film. One of his sexier ones. But the music just forms a backdrop to kaRIN’s spectacular voice which gets stronger with each recording. She growls through rockers like “Clearer” and purrs through the mid-tempo title track, and bounces through the almost-poppy “Lucky 13”. She never strikes a bad note through this utterly satisfying album and one wishes she received greater, wider-spread acclaim throughout the electronic community as one of the strongest vocalists we have.

As prolific as they are creative, Collide are consistent experimentalists, who pick up an idea, try it on for size and move on to the next thing. So while not every recording they share with us scores across the board they are wonderfully able to absorb those qualities that work well and incorporate them into future work. The results being a solid, dense, packed audio experience like Counting to Zero. It’s a worthy effort and one of their very best to date.

Watch: Mind Games

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