Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


I, Colossus brings warmth to winter

Good things don't always need to come in pretty packages.
Take, for example, the self-titled debut album of Minneapolis,
Minn outfit I, Colossus released Tuesday on local indie label Afternoon
Records. The album's bland cover art and packaging belies the fresh, textured
arrangement of electro-pop waiting inside.

I, Colossus
spawned from the creative mind of 21-year-old Matthew Sanstedt, who not only
wrote and produced all of the album's tracks, but also performed a majority of
the instrumental duties throughout. Sanstedt shows an impressive array of
musical skills, and his singing dominates the record with a crystal-clear
falsetto that proves to be both sassy and soothing in equal measure.

As the band swims through a sea of computerized bliss, the
various bleeps and bloops morph into delicate strains of electric guitar and
then devolve back into the deconstructed electronic lines. Album opener "My
Mouth Goes Numb" sets the general tone for the album as a wavy electronic intro
segues into Sanstedt's seductive, almost feminine vocals. Most of I,
tracks maintain a similar anatomy, vaulting between danceable
guitar passages in the vein of Modest Mouse and the cool, synth-drenched vibe
of Thom Yorke's The Eraser.


"It's Not Funny" proves to be the album's most radio-ready
track, and it's an irresistibly catchy piece of pop candy backed by a chorus of
harmonized "doo-wahs" that recall the glory days of pop music prominence of the
'50s and '60s.

Sanstedt shows off a fairly wide vocal range throughout the
album, and his style practically mirrors that of Placebo frontman Brian Moloko.
There are musical similarities as well, although I, Colossus live in a world a
little less bleak and drug-addled than Placebo's, and they usually stop short
of the driving rock Moloko's band often utilizes.

But there also remains an underlying mood of subdued
funkiness throughout I, Colossus, and the album plays host to a bevy of
guitar licks that could have been culled straight from any of James Brown's 20
Greatest Hits.
The fact that the album still can't be pigeonholed as "funk"
attests to Sanstedt's songwriting skill. He's adept at blending a variety of
musical elements without letting any one piece become the overpowering presence
in a song.

And for a band residing on a small label — and more than
likely a small budget — the production on I, Colossus is particularly
impressive, as Sanstedt's knob-twiddling assures the crisp beats, lush
harmonies and piercing guitar work all come together in an airy and uncluttered

Occasionally, the vocal approach can get a bit nasally, and
most of the songs on I, Colossus could be easily reordered without the
listener noticing much difference. A cynic might view this as repetitious
songwriting, but one could just as easily say that I, Colossus have simply crafted
their own unique sound and then ran with it.

Though Sanstedt is the driving force behind the music, I,
Colossus tours as a full band, and it would be interesting to see how these
songs translate to a live setting. Fans of Minus the Bear, The Rapture or the
recent work of Radiohead on In Rainbows should take note. I, Colossus
is a surprisingly mature album, and if Sanstedt and Co. keep churning out
refreshing material like this, it would be unsurprising to find them quickly
garnering the attention of the national music scene.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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