[sic] Magazine

The Institutes – Colosseums

“I wanna know
what it FEELS LIKE
living in paradise”

That opening burst from The Institutes debut album Colosseums is a statement of intent. Taking the immediacy of Oasis and the riffage of Stone Roses, ‘All That You’ll Ever Know’ reveals itself from behind a wall of backward-looped psychedelia. In an instant we know everything that we need to know about the Coventry band. It’s a stellar start. Recent single ‘Alleyways’, up next, is a love letter to childhood shenanigans. Front man Reid Zappa Currie is on exultant form while the band rival Mersey masters Shack for sheer songsmithery.

Can they keep this up? They do. ‘Something Beautiful’, ‘Inside Out’ and ‘Caught In A Dream’ make it five from five, the former with impressive Byrdsian moves while the next two approach post punk territory albeit with a rockier edge. There are tunes everywhere. Try ’I Just Can’t Keep Myself From Loving You’ for size. You just can’t keep yourself…from being impressed. If anything Colosseums is too big. Anyone waiting for a slow, dreamy song to punctuate the albums succession of anthems won’t find one. Closing track ‘Better Now’ briefly threatens to tick that box but nevertheless soon goes into ‘arena sized epic’ mode.

Whilst The Institutes bring to mind the best bits of the Nineties any ‘retro’ accusations must end here. The clue was right there in that opening number. Alleyway nostalgia aside, this band isn’t looking back. They’re looking forward. ‘All That You’ll Ever Know’ yearns for something else, something more. There’s a reason they didn’t call it ‘This Town’. It isn’t about the confinement. It’s about the dream. We cannot pin these lads down with labels of Britpop or Baggy either. I’m telling you now The Institutes ROCK. These boys make a glorious noise. Guitars recall variously, the Edge, Nick McCabe, Andy Bell, Rob Marshall (Humanist and Exit Calm) and even Jimmy Page. With a tight, sinewy rhythm section The Institutes are becoming a highly persuasive package. I can’t wait to see them live.

There was/is a Coventry venue called The Colosseum. This record isn’t named for that. I’ll swear it’s so named because it is fucking HUGE. With skyscraper anthems and West Coast melodic sensibilities The Institutes debut already feels like a Greatest Hits package. It’s the shot in the arm that I certainly needed. I’m going early on this one folks and I’m going all in. I think The Institutes are Britain’s best new band. Best… in ages. If Colosseums isn’t album of the year I’ll eat Reid’s hat.

COLOSSEUMS is out now on Vinyl, CD and digital.

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