Columbia Mills: CCTV – Dublin band is definitely one to watch
They borrow their name from an old nightclub in Dublin’s docklands, so you can guess that Columbia Mills’ musical style isn’t folk balladry or chamber pop. The five-piece forged their sound via influences from both the rock and the dance worlds, as heard on their 2017 debut – a record that earned them comparisons to bands such as The National and Joy Division.
Their second offering is more of the same measured indie rock-style balladry, frontman Fiachra Treacy’s vocal alternating between a murmur (as heard on You’re Not the Answer and the brisk Strange Game) and a hesitant soar, depending on the song.
Just when you think you’ve got them pegged, however, a song like Car Crash TV blooms into life with electronics, while Isolate is the New Order b-side that never was. The buzzy, dynamic The Greatest Love is the best song here, allowing a jittery dance beat to be organically enveloped within an indie rock song.
It’s mostly convincing and enjoyable stuff, although the synth-led Heart and Soul tries a bit too hard to capture The Killers at their dullest, and Trees is too by-the-numbers to inspire any sort of reaction.
Are Columbia Mills a guitar band who dabble in electronics, or an electronic band with guitars? As long as they continue to develop their sound as evidenced on this album, that doesn’t really matter.