Hold Your Colour
Electronica/Drum n Bass
1 "Prelude" – 0:52
2 "Slam" – 5:44
3 "Plasticworld" (featuring Fats & TC) – 6:21
4 "Fasten Your Seatbelt" (featuring The Freestylers) – 6:38
5 "Through the Loop" – 6:13
6 "Sounds of Life" (featuring Jasmine Yee) – 5:21
7 "Girl in the Fire" – 4:53
8 "Tarantula" (featuring Fresh, $pyda & Tenor Fly) – 5:31
9 "Out Here" – 6:07
10 "Hold Your Colour" – 5:28
11 "The Terminal" – 5:42
12 "Streamline" – 5:2313
13 "Another Planet" – 7:38
14 "Still Grey"
Ah, Pendulum. What a pinnacle of gallantry you are, gaining the upmost respect from the underground community of Junglists and Drum n Bass elitists worldwide for quite a while, and then having that respect thrown into an enclosed pool of Great White Sharks and Monkey excrement. Indeed, Pendulum are most likely the biggest trolls of the DnB scene since Dilinja concluded to stop bothering in actually producing above-par songs(All Aboard, Twist ‘Em Out), had the term “ClownStep” submitted as an official word in the Oxford English Dictionary, and decided to commit mass murder to ravers alike due to the Valve Sound System imploding their heads because of it's frequency response far beyond nyquist. After Pendulol’s 2007 release of "Granite"(A euphemism for “You’d rather be fed Granite than listen to this shit”), a Flounder of posts on DOA(Dead on Arrival
Dogs on Acid) full of illegible negative comments slated the band due to selling themselves out beyond tolerance, in which Rob Swire replied by stating that he was glad that he was the one to put the final stake through Drum n Bass's Pig shit
heart, in which after this the betrayed fans completely subsided and started dishing out werthers originals and rich tea biscuits. Or so the band had wishfully hoped to have happened. But alas, their new fanbase now consists of 14-year-Old Scenesters who all look like Bill Kaulitz and have no idea who Pink Floyd are, let alone have any sense of musical taste. Or hearing. Good for them.
But anyway, I haven't written this review in the hopes of giving Pendulum a roundhouse kick in the private area, I’ve done that many many times already and the satisfaction in doing so tends to dissipate rather quickly, no. Rather, I’m in to celebrate the days when the Drum n Bass act didn't immerse themselves into giving the mainstream music industry full-on fellatio. Yes indeedy, it’s all back to the good old days, 2003-2006 is where we’re heading. From the group’s initial first release of the instant-anthem “Vault”, they gained popularity significantly quickly, and 2 years later their first LP, Hold Your Colour, released onto the Breakbeat Kaos label, hit shelves of very popular music stores such as Tesco, Toys R Us and your Amazon wishlist. The Album was and is, one of the best Drum n Bass albums of all time, and it really isn’t very difficult to understand why, providing you’re not an idiot. Hold Your Colour has something for everybody; it truly is Drum n Bass for the masses. Electronica at it’s most…Electronic. But anyway, enough rambling and my failing attempts at sounding like a writer of Satire, let’s get down and dirty with this monolith of a long player, that’s if you’re actually reading this which you’re probably not. Regardless lets just pick out the songs of honorable mention.
is just one of those songs that you can’t help but like. Honestly, I’ve tried to hate this song over and over but I honestly just can’t, it’s just a straight up club-nailer. I wont be so crude as to call it Clownstep, but guaranteed it’s just one of those songs that you can throw into a CD player and turn up loud with a group of friends, be instantly recognized and have asses and groins going in all sorts of discernible directions. With an initial Hip Hop/Tribal beat, the song completely transitions, with an awesome-as-hell drop and fairly cool breakdown. A cheesy clowny supersaw lead jumps on the bandwagon, and the rest is history. Really not too bad. One of the more energetic songs out of the bunch and also one of the more overhyped. Oh well.
breaks up all this cheesyness with a more ambient approach, so you could say. The intro busts in with all sorts of ambient effects, such as creaking noises and water ripples and all that shiznit, along with a saxophone taking the centre stage before the drop. Vocals are very prominent for a Drum n Bass track, which is a genre known notably for being a lot more instrumental. I honestly haven’t a single complaint about this track whatsoever, apart from the fact that calling yourself “Fats” is stupidly redundant.
“Through The Loop”
is honestly stellar. I can’t exactly call it darkstep because I’m afraid some DnB elitist may crawl into my window and slice my throat and then eat my intestinal regions, but I can say that almost any hardcore DnB fan will be satisfied by this. It’s just the least…toned down song out of the group, doesn’t seem much like electronica and a lot less watered down in comparison to the other songs in the LP. A sampled vocal from Charlie and The Chocolate factory(The old one, not the sh
it one with Johnny Depp in it) paces through the intro, and the Amen break sweeps in and out in a sexy way. And well, after the drop, it’s pretty much rapture, it has almost the best break on the entire album. Drum n Bass in its more raw form.
“Hold Your Colour”
, the song of which the album is named after, is another one of those tracks that you could play with a group of your friends and have them almost certainly enjoy it, although I’m not implying that it’s at all like Slam, nope. Hold your Colour is a lot more musically diverse, with a strident synth pattern and a resampled vocal, along with a Acoustic Guitar lead introducing you into the song before the drop, and the build before the drop is fantastic. Rob really isn’t too bad at vocals on this song, which is a complete surprise seeming he sounds like he has traffic pole stuck up his urethra in the new album. Well, vocoders are there to be used, I guess. A must-listen.
is hands down, in my honest opinion, the best tune on the entire album, and honestly I really don’t tend to say that to too many songs on albums, but this took the cake. If I was to recommend anybody a drum n bass song, I would shove this in their earlobes and put it on repeat for 99 times. It’s just that fu
cking good. Honestly. I could never complain about this song, there are simply no defects. The production standard is fantastic, the mixdown is fantastic, the synths are fantastic, the concept is fantastic, the vocals are surprisingly fantastic, it’s just perfect. My favourite song of all time. Listen to it. Now.
is the second best tune on the album, and it’s a favourite among obstinate little Drum n Bass heads such as myself, being one of their earlier songs. At seven minutes long, it’s the second longest song from the album (the longest being another planet), and the closing track, which is very apt, seeming it’s back to the ambient overtones in this song, and pretty much rounds of the album very well. One of the less mass-pleasing tunes, others may find it boring.
Nobody can deny the inherent talent that Rob Swire has in his Production skills. Every tune is of the upmost quality, be it the mastering, mixing, or song arrangement, even genre exploration. It just seems indisputably professional for a then-Drum n Bass group, and that’s something. So these guys undoubtedly get a 10. It just makes it even more disappointing that all that talent is being used to now make terrible rock-pop hybrids for Mr. Bleeding Heart band-shirt fa
g to headbang to.
Pendulum do not **** about in their exploration to other genres in this album. Sure it keeps the norm within Drum n Bass, but these guys go everywhere. From the Latin-esque overtones to Girl in the Fire to the Ambient Techno in Still Grey and Another Planet, musically it’s very diverse. The basslines are groove-able, the breaks are simple at times albeit easily dance-able, and the leads and melodies are not mediocre at all in terms of DnB. No complaints here, although tracks like Slam fail to keep the pretense at times.
TWISTED THE KNIFE AND OPENED YOUR EYES
Uh, yeah. Vocal-wise the album is surprisingly prominent, from simple sampling from other sources in tracks like Through the Loop and Slam, to Rob contributing his vocal skill(if any) in tracks like Hold Your Colour and Streamline, Rob’s voice isn’t really that bad. Probably vocoded to death, but not bad. The lyrics are unfortunately quite mediocre though, with most tracks being metaphor-central, although songs like Sounds Of Life aren’t half bad in terms of songwriting.
Pendulum have almost certainly not boldly gone where Drum n Bass has gone before, but this album’s strong sense of visceral quality makes up for any discrepancies in terms of originality. Because honestly now, Slam isn’t original in the slightest. But is it well made? Yes. These guys can make a tune, plain and simple.
In today’s waking world, where most people are content with listening to simple 808 claps and kick drums at 90Bpm and some stereotypical guy talking about his pseudonymous sexual experiences and how he feels inclined to talk about women’s asses so his friends don’t mistaken him for being undeniably homoerotic through autotune, or some generic four to the floor dance track with random samples of sexual groans placed on every measure, the quality for music is slowly declining, and unfortunately Pendulum are contributing to it’s quick quick decline, like a malignant tumor. Lo and behold however, it’s always nice to go back in one’s discography and check the tracks that set the scene for the Drum n Bass group and their stellar offers for the respectful DnB scene. Selectah. Hold Your Colour is one of the best Drum n Bass albums ever made, and will live in legacy for many many years to come when us Junglists are dishing werthers and tea to our grandchildren and talking about how we all rocked the tables back in the day. One can only hope that eventually Pendulol come back to their senses and rejoin the dark side. We have cookies. And glowsticks.