After a strong showing with their debut LP “Over Me” just last year, punk and electro-pop band Cold Beat is back with “Into the Air.”
Already, the band seems deeply in sync, a feat that could take more than a few albums for a new band to master before they can focus on pushing personal boundaries.
Bassist, vocalist and primary songwriter Hannah Lew, previously with the San Francisco surf-rock trio Grass Widow, easily carries the weight of Cold Beat’s vocals. Her strong yet angelic sound acts as a guiding light for the album’s dark points. Add the rest of the band’s playful pop/synth style, and Cold Beat can embody the punk-crossover rebellion of Blondie or the bleeding-heart shoegaze of Dum Dum Girls.
Lew’s lush voice soars throughout the album — it radiates romantic warmth, mirroring Debbie Harry’s opulent style.
Haunting, isolating melodies and moody soundscapes are what Cold Beat does best, evident in the synthwave wanderings of the instrumental “Clouds” and the drum-machine and space-rock album closer “Ashes.”
But the band can also change its attitude within a song. They build tension with a guitar clang and propulsive drumming on the protopunk “Sisters,” a song that later finds solace in a flowing melody, which was somehow there all along. Compare those textures with the brisk guitar strumming of the straightforward “Am I Dust,” or Lew’s heartbreaking indecision on “Broken Lines,” and Cold Beat’s broad versatility on “Into the Air” becomes even clearer.
The new album, “Into the Air” was on Lew’s label Crime On the Moon on Sept. 4.