Lucid Culture


Concert Review: The New Collisions at Public Assembly, Brooklyn NY 3/20/09

The 80s get no respect. Sure, there were the Cheesy 80s: Reagan, and Bon Jovi, and Beverly Hills 90210. But there were also Cool 80s: the Dead Kennedys,  the Dream Syndicate, and new wave. Unlike how VH1 and the rest of the corporate media would like you to think – if they want you to think at all, that is – new wave didn’t start out as top 40. It was people doing new and unique and fun things with catchy pop songs, and that became top 40 because it was so much fun. In the spirit of those first new wave bands of the late 70s and the early 80s come the New Collisions. It’s a very encouraging story: in less than a year, they’ve gained critical mass in their native Boston and now they’re working on New York. Their show at Public Assembly on Friday added more than a few believers to the posse: there is without a doubt a film or five in development that could use their ridiculously hummable, biting, casually intense songs.


Indelible moment: platinum-haired frontwoman Sarah Guild spins away from the mic, look of disdain on her face, strolls back to the drums and then, back to the audience, raises her left hand in a tightly clenched fist. Nothing stagy or contrived about it, that’s just how she felt in that one moment. One look at this band’s song titles reveals a considerable edge: No Free Ride. Parachutes on the Dance Floor. In a Shadow. Caged Us Kids, one of the best songs of the night. In guitarist Scott Guild’s fiery, upper-register chords, the band’s fast 4/4 dance beat, soaring melodic bass and devious vintage synthesizer lines, there’s a sense of exasperation, of just dying to get out, to have some real fun for once in their lives. Which speaks for pretty much all of us these days.


It was a methodical yet inspired set, the band roaring from one memorable number to the next without much fanfare. Sarah Guild has a chirpy insouciance that reminds of Poly Styrene from X-Ray Spex, but also a big formidable wail with echoes of the Motels’ Martha Davis, and she uses both expertly. Scott Guild goes for a staccato, slashing style that pairs well against the fast, climbing bass and the meandering synth lines. Ones to Wander featured some marvelously tight, accusatory harmonies. The snide, darkly captivating Underground had an eerie organ solo that sounded straight out of the Radio Birdman songbook. Losing Ground built off a melodic, crescendoing bassline, reaching a peak as the chorus kicked in with its “uh-oh” vocalese. Their last song of the night, Escape began slowly with eerie electric piano and broken guitar chords, building to a searing anthem, evoking images of after-dark mall parking lots scattered with kids on car hoods drinking beer out of paper bags, leaning up against utility poles, somebody’s ipod rigged up to the car stereo speakers, who’re only there because it’s all they have. The New Collisions are the Kids in America. They’re back here at Arlene’s on April 23 and then at one of their usual haunts, TT Bear’s in Boston on April 28.

March 23, 2009 - Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Yep, I was there, I definitely agree with you, and I hope great things happen for them!! 🙂

    Comment by Chris | March 24, 2009 | Reply

  2. I don’t understand how any competent reviewer could possibly label this band as anything more than uncomfortably amateur. The “platinum blond” onstage is embarassingly awkward- its as if a nefarious manager instructed her to add a level of sexuality to her persona which she is clearly incapable of comfortably adopting. As for the music- it is so benign, so dull, I doubt very much that any of the “real” American kids at their shows are doing much more than muddling through an utterly predictable set. It seems worth mentioning that much of this review echoes almost exactly the terribly pompous tone of their my space page. If I were to guess, which I will do for my own exceedingly irritated benefit, I would say that one of the band members themselves has spent a good deal of time scouring the internet for venues on which to give himself a positive review. There is nothing wrong with pursuing one’s creative interests- it’s just that when mediocre, if not downright irritating, bands make grandiose statements claiming to represent some banal demographic, the very though is so misguided, not to mention unbearably pompous, that someone has to speak up. I hope the New Collisions collide with something much more powerful than themselves.

    Comment by Gillian | June 5, 2009 | Reply

  3. Are you sure you didn’t post this here by accident instead of at the Kellie Pickler site?
    But this demands a response, if only to set the record straight – the ad hominem tone of your post leaves the impression that you bear some kind of grudge against the band.

    Sarah Guild is awkward??!? On Mars, maybe. Maybe she’d rather exchange snide comments with her bandmates instead of talking to the audience, but that hardly constitutes awkwardness. Your comments about her persona are also mystifying – she doesn’t wear slutty clothes, and none of her lyrics are sexually explicit. Could it be you’re jealous maybe? By the way I do not know Sarah Guild personally.

    The New Collisions “benign, dull?” If this band is dull then I definitely want to know what exciting is! I recommend you get their excellent new ep and listen to the lyrics. They’re pissed off, restless, defiant – totally oldschool punk values. No stupid indie rock trust-fund kid complacency. The songwriting is first-rate with catchy melodies, unexpected chord changes and imaginative song structures, and the musicianship is on the same level – no stupid moveable guitar chords, no slurred, indecipherable lyrics. I don’t understand how anybody wouldn’t agree that this band is a whole lot of fun and a real breath of fresh air.

    So they scour the internet for blogs who might plug them? You think your favorite band doesn’t do that? Of course they do. Every band does that. With the commercial airwaves reserved for corporate garbage, that’s what bands have to do these days in order to gain traction and broaden the fan base. Lucid Culture plugged the New Collisions because they deserve it.

    Comment by lc | June 6, 2009 | Reply

  4. Yep, I’m sure I posted here correctly. What is fresh and innovating about another young female staring provacatively at a camera in order to increase record sales? Take a look at the new photo shoot, as I did this evening in order to respond properly to your post. She is wearing shorts that are indeed short, and a gold bra. I think we can all agree that “slutty” is a proper description. I’m certainly not saying she is a slut, but wearing a revealing outfit on film, in order to promote a band and send out a few more eps does seem to fall into a provacative category. There is no use arguing about why I don’t like the music- listeners seem to respond or not respond according to their own natures. But there is some fodder for discussion when you write that there is no “indie” complacency. What the hell does that mean? With all the cross-promotion this band seems to engage in, I fail to see why their method of luring concert-goers is any more valid than simply using money to put the music out there in the first place. And I hate to seem so spiteful, but your deep psychological profile of me is so terrifically derivitive. Why must I be jealous, just because I find Sarak Guild awkward? Because I’m also a woman? I’m not any less qualified to observe her bending down on her knees, creating the sort of “indelible moments” you are capable of falling for. If you like the New Collisions, review them, but try not to copy their pompous facebook nonsense.

    Comment by Gillian | June 7, 2009 | Reply

  5. Haven’t seen the photoshoot you mention. The “indelible moment” in the review was indelible – and I think characteristic – because it was uncontrived. She was feeling the lyrics, feeling the music, which is what this band is all about. Is she pretty? Yes. But it wouldn’t matter if she wasn’t because the thing that has me hooked is her voice and her songs. Should women feel compelled to objectify themselves for commercial gain or any other reason? Of course not. But since the dawn of civilization,, women have capitalized on their looks – I’ll bet if you looked hard enough, you’d be able to find slutty photos of most of your favorite performers.

    Comment by lc | June 7, 2009 | Reply

    • “lc” is clearly Scott Guild. Trust me I have heard this guy talk before, and it’s definitely him. Kind of funny actually.

      – Andy

      Comment by Andy | October 24, 2009 | Reply

  6. No it’s not, this is a Lucid Culture creation. Under no circumstances would we let an artist write their own review. The New Collisions are just a good band.

    Comment by lc | October 24, 2009 | Reply

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