“Welcome The Problems” opens with “The Dusk Of Us”, a song that is almost the epitome of Colossal's style. A rolling snare drum beat and interweaving, chiming guitar lines. The rhythm of “The Dusk Of Us” is a pretty complex beast, constantly changing and adjusting whilst the guitar and melody lines wind just as complicated a trail to the point where its hard to separate what one is doing from the other. It could easily be frustrating or difficult to listen to, but the changes all seem to fit together perfectly. Instruments drop out and reappear throughout the song, keeping you on your toes. Whenever I return to the song, I always find there is always something new to listen to.
“The Serious Kind” is a track that had such an influence on me personally, that I named my band after it. The melancholy yet intricate, picked guitar and trumpet intro give way to energetic, nearly frantic, strumming and drums. There's an almost effortless energy to the vocal delivery as well, with little to no strain in Patrick Ford's subdued baritone, even in the louder sections of the track. Colossal's sound is all at once, energetic and relaxed, intricate, yet loose. It's undoubtably very hard to play, yet its done with such ease and a relaxed, anything goes approach that it almost seems easy.
Whilst the band alternate lead singers, there is little change to the instrumentation or production through most of the album (including having the drums distractingly forward in the mix). However, the jazz references on “Welcome The Problems” are rarely more obvious than when there is a trumpet present. Not just a one off played by a session musician, the trumpet parts on the album are played by guitarist Jason Flaks. And though not as technical and rhythmic as some of the instrumentation, it brings an air of solemnity and almost mournfulness that fits in well on tracks like the almost instrumental “Work In Prague”.
That said “Welcome The Problems” is not a dour album. There is plenty of energy and vigour on the record, but it's by no means frivolous or disposable. It's not a party album, but it's a far cry from being boring or depressing. It's a very thoughtful and intelligent rock album and, as far as I know, there isn't anything out there that sounds like it.
Sadly, Colossal did not survive long. They released their first EP in 2003, a year or so after forming and “Welcome The Problems” came out a year later. Even before the album was written there were personnel changes within the band and by 2007, with the departure of Jason Flaks and various members leaving to join the reformed Smoking Popes, Colossal went on a seemingly permanent hiatus. However quality trumps quantity and Colossal's small but venerable catalogue is rock music of the highest quality.