The pandemic has been tough on every rock touring band on the planet. But few groups had their plans for world domination upended quite as decisively as Colony House. In early 2020, the Franklin, TN quartet was on the cusp of a major breakthrough. Leave What’s Left Behind, their third album, had been released in January to widespread acclaim. On the group’s accompanying headlining circuit, they left heads spinning (and critics buzzing) all over the country. Then in March of that year, just as the wave was cresting, it all stopped.
But when recordings are as good as the ones that Colony House makes, word of mouth is hard to shut down. As it turned out, not even a global cataclysm could take the wind out of the group’s sails. A concert set — the incendiary Colony House Live, Vol. 1 — kept the momentum going, and by the time the group was ready to return to the road, the appetite for the group’s music was ravenous. Now comes “Cannonballers,” a stinging reminder of just how much heat the quartet can generate. It’s a brilliant amalgam of surf-rock riffs, blues melody, Southern rock intensity, and the sort of straightforward, no-nonsense, hook-driven songwriting characteristic of Americana at its best.
It’s also an engrossing narrative. That’s nothing new for Colony House: Leave What’s Left Behind played like a tightly-written short story collection, with recurring themes and familiar characters, crackling wordplay, dramatic gestures, and cinematic scope. “Cannonballers” picks up right where the album left off with a tale of a flight on the highway, intimations of criminal misdeeds, sirens in the distance, and a hovering sense of paranoia and destabilization that’ll be familiar to anybody who has lived in America over the past few years. Maybe the narrator is running from the cops. Maybe he’s running from himself.
The members of Colony House bring that same frantic energy to the clip for “Cannonballers.” They’re also keen to let you know just how magnetizing they are in concert. All four members of the group radiate charisma — and they all make a searing impression. There’s a spy flick vibe to the clip and hints of 1970s cop shows and horror movies, too. Expect vintage cars, scary road stunts, high Midwestern skies, white picket fences, fireworks, and skeletons popping up in the oddest places. It all blows by at a whip-cracking pace: a suitable clip for a band that simply can’t be slowed.
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