Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Album Review: Red Collar - Welcome Home

Three years after their debut, Pilgrim, Red Collar is back with Welcome Home, a focused effort full of smart songwriting and larger-than-life moments.

This time around around, lead singer Jason Kutchma is exposed front and center. He sounds extremely confident here and his grizzled voice takes over the record often. Welcome Home begins with him shouting at a boy to stand up straight in "Orphanage" and Kutchma is so commanding, the listener will find their own spine stiffening.

Kutchma’s powerful vocals are balanced with an equally powerful dual-guitar attack. Combined, they’re big and bold without being brash, but the crystal clear production makes possible to go back and forth between speakers and here each individual line. It’s really cool to hear when both lines merge into one to send a song into the stratosphere.

There’s a lot of intelligence in Red Collar’s compositions. The band uses transitions incredibly well on Welcome Home. "Fade Into The Night" jump to half speed and gradual acceleration back up to speed gives the song a more dynamic effect.

The real gem here is "This House." It starts out as a sparse ballad with emotional vocals and grows so huge that Kutchma has to shout at the top of his lungs to compete with the towering guitars and explosive drumming. Even at its loudest, the listener can still hear how all the parts connect.

It’s this ability to make epic moments sound nuanced and thoughtful that makes Red Collar more than your average bar band and Welcome Home better than your average rock album.

Welcome Home is out now on Tiny Engines. Red Collar will play Death To False Hope Fest at Motorco Music Hall on June 29.

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