On 25 June 2007, Coley Park are to release their new album, ‘Rhinoceros on new label Big Potato Records. Formed in the late 90’s as a tin pot, fuzz, banjo and clarinet wielding Sonic Youth inspired 4 tracker outfit, they soon acquired a mythic status amongst locals, surfacing for (deliberately) unrehearsed gigs, then disappearing back to whatever makeshift studio they were holed up in. Coley Park began working with local-like-minders such as Jamie Lee Martin (poet), Ian Parton (now the Go Team), Neil Halstead and Ian McCutcheon (Loose Salute & Mojave3) and started filling suitcases with cassettes of songs, noodles and ideas.
Neil Halstead decided to work with Coley Park on his solo album “Sleeping on Roads” (4AD Records) after borrowing them for many Mojave3 recordings. Together, they played a one off performance at Spain’s Benicassim Festival, following which Coley Park returned to the studio to record the “Hands Of The Sun” album, from which most of the songs on the subsequent “Across The Carpet Stars” EP were drawn. Released in late 2003, the album received the following praise:
Anglodelic sensations Coley Park, have come from nowhere in particular & on the basis of their debut album, are headed somewhere peculiar. Coley Park boast a murderous innocence all of their own. Theres a touch of Syd Barretts creepy childlike psychosis throughout. Bang 4/5
“The shimmering melodies, happy-sad voices and mix of Americana and Anglo pastoral-psychedelia” – Syvie Simmons / Mojo
“Coley Park do a very fine line of marrying skew folk, alt.country and nu-psychedelia, and the results are continuously joyous.” – Rock Sound 8/10
By the albums release the band had written and recorded most of the follow up, the stripped-to-the-bone “Down At The Devilin Tree”, which veered from surf to dark folk. Released on Shadylane Records in January 2005, the band again enjoyed a great press reaction:
Coley Park manage to strike a telling balance between the pastoral vibes of little England & a warm Americana-come-west coast sound rooted in the 1960s. Detailed by studied lyrics, they stir up a woozy psych sound of a high standard 4/5 The Independent.
“At times lovely. At others as on the Dr Who through Leslie speaker-cones of “Sleeping Apart”- mildy freaky.” Uncut
“Opener “Milky Moon” is made of blinding Californian sunshine mixed with soulful backbeat…” Rocksound 8/10
Coley Park’s almost hermitic existence has been spent crafting a set of honey sweet, alt country gems, with hard hitting drumming, steel guitar and hooks-a-plenty. The well honed tunes are made to shimmer with the odd flicker of wigged out instrumental flurries – bringing to mind the likes of Teenage Fanclub at their best.
Inspired by a play by Lonseco, Rhinoceros was recorded and mixed over one year at their own studio. Featuring the T-Rex meets Roxy Music trumpet blast of I Never Believed A Word You Said, the hypnotic steel groove of Devils Tree and the uplifting pop of Hip Hip Hooray, the album is the prefect soundtrack to a hazy set of woozy country-rock campfire sing-alongs. In the bands own words: “psychedelic banjo wielding shit kicks.”
Those suitcases are now beginning to creek and groan, and new label Big Potato Records are hoping to keep up with them through a string of EP releases and Summer dates.
Coley Park Line up
Nick Portnell – most of the singing, guitar, backwards guitar & tambo.
Kevin Wells – singing, banjo, recorder, guitar, clarinet, jaw harp & lap steel.
Mark Smith- bass, guitar & backing vocals.
Nick Holton- keyboards, guitar, banjo, gloc & backing vocals.
Dave Barrow- drums & backing vocals.