For four years Brighton three-piece Cold Pumas have traipsed up and down the UK, playing the same riffs over and over, and louder and louder – as if in search of some trance-like state of musical bliss. Their debut album uses that same ecstatic repetition as a framework for singing drummer Patrick Fisher’s romantic angst. The songs cycle through tension and release – powerful rhythms, buzzy guitars and woozy amounts of reverb give way to melodies and yet more heartache.
Persistent Malaise can – as the title suggests – feel like a grind, but the record’s failings are symbolic. They reveal the compromises involved in band life, the struggles of the lovelorn and the strained energy of three people standing in a room for months on end, fighting to create art. It all results in a beautifully romantic and deeply English take on the minimal experimentalism of Cold Puma’s post-punk forebears that’s both emotionally wrought and very listenable. Those four years of hard playing paid off. Eddy Frankel