I’m a bit at a loss for words after listening to The Thrush by Chicago’s Chandeliers. Perhaps I’m just being lazy, viagra but I truly can’t remember the last time it was so hard to easily summarize a band’s sound with only a few words. To their credit, sale the quartet do a huge service to listeners by hitting on so many sonic touch points that easy categorization becomes moot.
What is interesting to talk about however, sick is the nascent evolution of truly original American electronic music. Excited by the goings-on over on the left coast with Hatchback and Sorcerer, intrigued by Michna’s underwater NYC gurgling, and always a staunch supporter of Ghostly’s unsung Midwest Product (and Ben’s solo work and stuff in PostPrior), it finally appears that American-based artists have embraced live electronics in a style that once dominated the mid-90s UK club scene. However, there’s a lawlessness, a true American approach to the style, one that eschews all rules, in favor of a Wild West-like “we’re gonna do whatever the fuck we want” mentality. I’m down with that.
The Thrush sounds like a mixtape made by the dude down the hall with the ill Krautrock collection who’s dating a dancer into Afrobeat and old UK downtempo. Or something like that. Solidly played, nicely recorded, I can’t help but think about getting really loose back in the day on Gerrard Street in London’s Chinatown when the Wiseguys would rock a DJ set throwing down Pork Recordings 12″s and and cutting into something from Neu!
The tragedy with Chandeliers is that American writers don’t have the background enough to give this record a fair comparison and create the context it deserves. This band is doing something great here, and because our musical culture is so fixated on overblown bass squelches and throw-away anthems, music like this (one without a true home in the categorical sidebar) constantly gets swept under the rug. I’ve seen it with so many talented bands, it’s become depressing. Not to jerk myself off at all, but already I’m reading a number of reviews and press sheets that forgo an entire generation of sick, live UK 90s acts (specifically Fila Brazilia, Palmskin Productions, Bullitnuts and shit like that) and utilize the already overused Krautrock categorization. Not that Chadeliers don’t hit a number of very similar notes, but they truly do so much more.
I think I said something about being at a loss for words earlier. But as I sit here listening to this record and typing this post out, they seem to be coming that much more naturally.
RIYL: Can, Tortoise, Kraftwerk, Red Snapper, Fila Brazilia, Plaid, Giorgio Moroder