Louisville’s own and most famous punk group Coliseum has never maintained the same sound throughout its discography. Each album finds the band evolving in some way. Most notably, the d-beat roots are nearly gone, and a sense of mysticism and 80s darkness (i.e. darkwave) has slowly but surely crept in. The band’s latest sees the transformation come complete. Anxiety’s Kiss is the band’s metaphorical butterfly, signifying the end of Coliseum’s latent experimentation. Unfortunately, this end result isn’t as impressive or enjoyable as the journey to where we are.
The term “Morrissey punk” is pretty applicable here, as Coliseum still has moments of underlying aggression, but Anxiety’s Kiss is mostly a cocktail of The Smiths and post-punk. In some instances, this sonic marriage is successful. “We Are the Water” is a haunting and surprisingly uplifting track, and “Drums & Amplifiers” is a nice reminder of the energy Coliseum used to employ. However, the majority of the record falls flat. The passion is still there, but, unfortunately, Coliseum’s passion project isn’t all that riveting. The songs are rather lifeless, lacking energy or much to differentiate them from one another. It’s nice to see this is the end of the evolutionary chain for Coliseum, in the sense that it’s a style that should work. Junius has had great success with the combination of post-metal and The Smiths-style gloom. It just isn’t executed very well on this album. Hopefully Coliseum has a new wrinkled to add to their sound, as Anxiety’s Kiss is a rare miss for the highly esteemed Louisville group.