Buff State alumnus releases ‘surfy’ album with his band

Benjamin Joe, Online Editor

About a year ago, Kevin O’Connor, Joel Russell, Gandi Rizek, and Seth Zielinski set up a band that they call Coral Collapse. Their first EP, “Hafla”, an Arabic word for ‘party,’ is scheduled to release March 19, at the top floor of Goodbar on Elmwood.

“We just try to keep it interesting. Just kind of make the guitars dance around each other,” said Rizek, an alumnus of SUNY Buffalo State. “We have a bunch of songs, but we’ve recorded only those five.”

The songs can be called “surfy” and “melodic,” but for the most part have been labeled “indie.”

“We just want to be rock,” Rizek said.

Their lineup places O’Connor as the singer, Rizek playing lead guitar, Russel on bass, and Zielinski on drums.

“Kevin is the lead singer, and he plays guitar,” Rizek said. “He’s not really a lead guitar because sometimes he plays lead parts and sometimes I play lead parts. But for the most part he plays chords.”

Rizek’s guitar work is amazing and stands out next to the sweet lyrics that O’Connor croons out on each track.

The five songs, available on SoundCloud, are each uniquely endowed with the same idyllic daydreams that whisk the listener away from the steady crush of everyday life and start to feel a euphoria of lightness that soothes the soul and calms the mind.

The songs were recorded by Justin Smith, lead guitarist of another local band, Aircraft. Smith seems to groove with Coral Collapse’s sound.

“Everything was [recorded] at Mammoth Studios and Justin (Smith) was the engineer, but also kind of the producer,” Rizek said. “He’s been kind of a fifth member through the recording

process. For the next one he was talking about coming to our practices and working with us through that period as well.”

Though each member comes from a very different background, the band comes together well and almost every song is a collaboration of their efforts.

“Joel’s style, he’s influenced by folk, 60s and 70s rock. Kevin is all over the place, anything from John Lennon to 80s new wave and post-punk,” Rizek said. “I think that’s where we fall, post-punk, but some of our stuff comes from bands like the Pixies and Pavement.”

Their songs can be found online at soundcloud.com/coral-collapse/tracks.

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