Give Them Rope (2xCD deluxe reissue)
22 November 2011
by Tomas Doyle
There was always a capriciousness to Coalesce which made them a difficult band to follow. No stranger to line-up changes or hiatuses, the band nevertheless have a powerful reputation amongst hardcore fans as group who, along with the likes of Botch, paved the way for the sort of abrasive aggression and grinding time-signature complexity which has since been honed and shined by the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan.
The fragmented nature of their career means that this double disc is, effectively, a re-release of a re-release. Originally put out in 1997 Give Them Rope was re-issued in 2004 with the slightly extended moniker Give Them Rope, She Said, so far so standard and the 2000 disc certainly gave a sonic clarity to an album that, while rich with ideas, was underpowered and stifled by a poor production value. But including both these discs in this repackaging leaves us with two virtually identical albums in one CD case – I’m sure completists will be rubbing their hands together but it does seem somewhat like overkill even if there are extensive liner notes from guitarist Jes Steineger to enjoy.
Musically, Give Them Rope is utterly crushing and characterised by stream-of-consciousness riffs, disorienting structural schizophrenia and a barefaced nastiness that bludgeons you with alarming remorselessness (a fact which makes listening to both CDs in a row distinctly unlikely). This is not Coalesce at the peak of their powers, which they arguably reached on 012: Revolution in Just Listening but nevertheless it is a ferocious melding of dissonant noise, crust-punk fury and blind, white-hot rage.
Given that the original is coming up for fifteen years old, it is remarkable how progressive this album still feels and makes clear just how much of a shame it is that Coalesce never managed to stabilise their own career enough to deliver us a few more LPs of their powerful brand of mayhem.
Sounds like: Botch, Dillinger Escape Plan, His Hero is Gone.
Top tracks: Cut To Length, Every Reason To