On their sophomore full-length album, West London DIY feminist punks Colour Me Wednesday take on often hard-to-swallow topics in the upbeat and punchy Counting Pennies in the Afterlife (Krod Record/Dovetown Records).
Emerging from the rubble of crumbling buildings, makeshift weapons slung over shoulders, looking like your worst nightmare and greatest dream mixed together to create a post-apocalyptic, no-rules-will-bind-us gang: this is what Colour Me Wednesday becomes on the powerful cover of Counting Pennies. It’s equally matched in prowess by the four-piece’s skillset, expertly showcased in this diverse and impressive collection.
Immediately, ‘Sunriser’ catches you almost by surprise. Gearing up from deep guitar riffs to a harmonious amalgamation of jangly guitar, the catchiest of hooks, and bell-clear vocals. This summery theme remains throughout all eleven tracks, inspiring toe-tapping, hip-swaying, singalong, prosecco-sipping-in-the-grass goodness. The deeper you tread, though, the heavier those guitars become, not as if the weight of the world is getting the best of them, but as if they are only growing stronger against it, learning new ways of fighting it. Closing track ‘Not My Turf’ is another highlight, guitar- and bass-driven, sludgy in all the right ways, but I can’t get away from vocal harmonies on ‘Take What You Want (And Then Leave)’ or the ear-pleasing guitar riffs on ‘Tinfoil’.
Second, third, and fourth listens on, melodic vocals give even more insight into the band’s politics. Harriet Doveton, who fronts the band along with her sister Jen, with Laura Ankles on guitar and Jaca Feer on drums, says the themes “fit around post-capitalism/apocalyptic ideas, themes of things dying or being reborn, remaining strong, hopeful.” They’ve thrown in criticisms on cis men and an anti-TERF song in there as well, as you do. See if you can guess which one it is.
So many are commenting on these themes, saying things along the lines of how different or opposite they are, but who says serious songs need to sound serious? Scream loud about your movement, if you will; don’t let it make you sad, but let it drive you to others. Celebrate the sadness and the struggle, and whatever you do, avoid the wallow. Counting Pennies in the Afterlife proves this works, to every end. The fact that basically every song is an earworm is a bonus.
Counting Pennies in the Afterlife is out on Colour Me Wednesday’s own label, Dovetown Records, in the UK and on Krod Records in Europe on 15 May.
Image: Colour Me Wednesday