Release Date: Jul 8, 2014
Record label: Crime On the Moon
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival
On the 2013 single Worms/Year 5772, Hannah Lew sketched out the approach of her post-Grass Widow project Cold Beat, crafting songs with clean, post-punk-inspired lines befitting its namesake (one of the best songs by cult favorites the Sound). By the time Over Me was released, Cold Beat was a full-fledged band with a solid lineup thanks to the addition of Erase Errata's Bianca Sparta. Lew makes the most of this stability by expanding the scope of her songs, which range from "Fatal Bond"'s driving rock to "Abandon"'s delicate balladry to "Mirror"'s winning indie pop.
Late last year, Grass Widow's Hannah Lew released Worms/Year 5772, the first EP from her band Cold Beat, on her own label, Crime on the Moon. That shrewd collection channeled loss into captivating songs, which Lew wrote over four years while grappling with both the weight of her fathers’ death and her own insomnia. Cold Beat’s new album, Over Me, is an extension of that melancholia, a space where Lew confronts grief through punchy post-punk.
Cold Beat is the new project from bassist/vocalist Hannah Lew of San Francisco indie rockers Grass Widow. On their debut, Lew takes over as bandleader, songwriter and primary vocalist, purring out clean, choir-like vocals amid plucky new wave tunes. The band excels at grabby intros - by guitars (Kyle King), drums (Bianca Sparta), or Lew's own bass-playing - that whip you into each song and spit you out quickly.
There’s nothing wrong with borrowing from the past, but maybe Grass Widow frontwoman Hannah Lew takes it a bit too far with her side-project, Cold Beat. On Over Me, her debut album with the four-piece, Lew turns to a muffled interpretation of surf rock instead of her other band’s take on post-punk. It works, sometimes well, but it rarely strives for more than that.