COLUMBIA – Single Review: “Disorder”

Artwork by Stay Focused Photography

I’m back in Wales (having just featured Welsh singer-songwriter Caitlin Lavagna last week) to shine a spotlight on indie rock band Columbia, who released their new single “Disorder” on November 4th. The Cardiff-based act was formed in 2019 by long-time friends Ben Rowlands (lead guitar) and Craig Lewis (vocals/rhythm guitar), who had been in a handful of other bands both together and separately over the years. They released their debut single “Fall Into the Sun” at the end of 2019, followed by a number of singles over the next two years. While in the process of recording their debut album Embrace the Chaos in 2021, they brought on bassist Aron Stenning to complete their current lineup.

Columbia released Embrace the Chaos in March 2022, garnering positive reviews from both music writers and fans. They celebrated its release at a sold-out show at The Moon in Cardiff, and have since performed at such renowned venues as Camden’s Fiddlers Elbow, The Dublin Castle, and SWNDfest at The Bunkhouse, Swansea, as well as playing on several This Feeling shows supporting The Shakes and The Kairos (another band I’ve previously featured on this blog). The band will be performing this weekend at the sold-out Shiiine On Weekender 2022 festival at Butlin’s Minehead Arena in Somerset. Their set is scheduled for Saturday, November 12th.

Photo by Stay Focused Photography

Recorded at King’s Road Studios in Cardiff and produced by Andrew Sanders, “Disorder” marks a new direction for Columbia. Not only is the song their first to be written by lead guitarist Ben Rowlands, (their previous songs have been written by Lewis), it’s also their most powerful track yet. Sanders has called “Disorder” “the biggest sounding track I’ve made with a band“, while the band cheekily notes that the song’s “incredible wall of sound makes you wonder where on earth Ben has been hiding this behind his calm and quiet demeanour?

The song is a darkly beautiful, cinematic anthem. Opening with ominous sounds of police sirens and helicopters circling overhead, suggesting unrest in the streets, our ears are suddenly hit with a barrage of gnarly guitars, grinding bass and thunderous drums, accompanied by Lewis’ commanding vocals. I love the song’s portentous swirling melody, and the intricate guitar work – punctuated here and there with delicate acoustic notes, only to explode into a wailing solo in the bridge – is spectacular.

My take as to the song’s meaning is that it speaks to the addictive nature of public protests and disorder in the streets, how easily people can become attracted to them by the adrenaline rush from participating in such events that usually involve intense anger and/or passion for a particular cause. We’ve seen how these public protests can sometimes feed upon themselves, growing larger and out of control as crowds grow and tempers rise: “I’m breaking the silence. I feel my fear running. Don’t want to believe it, but everything is changing The colors are fading, the sound around me rising, climbing higher and higher and higher. I feel it, I need it, the streets are in disorder. Addiction, a feeling I couldn’t ever be there. I had it, I want it. The streets are in disorder, climbing higher and higher and higher.

“Disorder” is a phenomenal track, nicely showcasing Columbia’s continued growth as a band.

And here’s the newer action video they’ve created for the song:

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Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple MusicAmazon Music

Purchase on BandcampAmazon

3 thoughts on “COLUMBIA – Single Review: “Disorder”

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