Strength in Numbers
In October of 2020, exhausted by isolation, Cold Showers singer Jonathan Weil proposed the band pack their cars full of gear, rent a house in the desert wilderness of Joshua Tree, and to record a new EP. The result, Strength In Numbers, captures the group’s chemistry at its most effortless and anthemic, distilling a decade of experience into five future classics of romantic Madchester melancholia. Guitarist Chris King credits the freedom of escaping the city and its distractions for the collection’s looser, liberated mood: “The world seemed so bleak that making something lighter felt right.” Once a makeshift studio was assembled, they took turns throwing riffs, ideas, and “half-dead demos” into the ring, democratically workshopping them in the spirit of the band’s egoless mantra: “Best idea wins.”
True to its title, these songs transcend the sum of their parts, born of the group’s uniquely interwoven collaborative process, with each member writing different parts across every instrument: “We deconstruct a song to its best elements, then rebuild it from there.” This ‘rip it up and start again’ method incrementally refines each track to its poetic essence, until, as King puts it, “the song seems to come more from the ether than from us.” Opening with the Screamadelica-esque “How Do You Know This Love?” (which features a guest spot by visionary rapper Lil B), the EP flows from baggy to blue, an alchemical mix of mood-swing synth-pop, night sky post-punk, and Technique-era New Order. “Sliver” and “Lock and Key” pulse with a simmering, ominous energy, like light pollution glowing on the horizon, while “Nighttime” swings with cold sweat, driven by an anxious chorus (“this time of night keeps calling / this time of night you can’t stop the rain”).
Although Cold Showers have cycled through an array of line-ups since forming in 2010, Strength In Numbers sounds like a band squarely in their prime, still ripening into ever more reflective and rarified states. King cites their shared simple maxim for continuing: “As long as it feels honest.” It feels far more than that. In the swirling, arpeggiated depths of “Sliver” – a song so elusive they’ve been trying to record it since 2015 – a shredded, shrouded guitar solo curls into the clouds and slowly decays, framing a couplet that hints at the group’s enduring, elemental presence: “there’s no coming back / as if mountains could move / lay me on broken glass / next to a picture of you.”
- How Do You Know This Love (feat. Lil B)
Lock and Key