Music: an expression of humanity, escape, a soundtrack to life, deep passion….
Cool Hand Luke has been hit or miss for me. I’ve always liked their music but there are two different bands here. There’s the post-hardcore band who used t play with their back to the crowd (So Far, I Fought Against Myself) and the indie rock band (Wake Up, O Sleeper and Fires of Life). Cool Hand Luke really won me back over with the Sleeping House. It maintained their indie rock sensibilities but it had the passion and intensity that I thought was missing from Wake Up and Fire of Life.
The band’s final outing, Of Man, is really a solo record for Cool Hand Luke front man Mark Nicks. Described as a record about Jesus’ final days from the prespective of those around him, it creates for an interesting concept from a band that’s always provided great lyrics.
Of Man is not a dark record but its dark sounding for a Cool Hand Luke record. Almost what the Fires of Life should have sounded like. Hosanna is a nice intro that dives into the piano riff on Are You Coming. Are You Coming has a similar vibe to the Sleeping House. The album is mostly low key, very piano and cello heavy. Goodbye for Now, The Last Supper, Silver, and A Garden in the Dark are all low key, drawing attention to lyrics without being distracting. The issue with all these songs have a similar vibe is there is no dynamic range and the albums starts to drag.
His Eyes is a constant build that holds your attention until it explodes, the drums playing as a constant shifting energy, creating this great sense of tension. Excellent song with a cool post rock feel. The Burial is a nice little instrumental break that actually plays nicely despite the constant piano songs.
Of Man is a good record and die hard Cool Hand Luke fans will love this album. It’s a great record to end their career on. But on its own, the album is missing something. It does play like a solo record more then a collective band effort, and yes, I know that’s what it is. There are moments where Of Man is really epic and great, but a lot of the tracks tend to run together and are just to similar to leave a lasting impact on me.