Monday, 17 June 2013

Chicane Theory - Things Look Up Again

Album review by

Since the whole lo-fi thing swept the US alternative scene a couple of years back (and is still ongoing, but yielding diminishing returns as these things often do) we've seen an influx of bands looking back at another period of music. The grunge/college-rock/post-grunge scene that erupted in the early to mid 1990s. This form of alt-rock has gained momentum in the UK too, and this must be, in part at least, down to the reformations/revivals of bands like Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, dEUS and more. The alt-rock that spread from America to Europe around that time is common once again, and the new bands producing these sounds are often doing a fine job of replicating and reinventing it. We can add Minneapolis band Chicane Theory to that list.

Formed in 2010, new album 'Things Look Up Again' draws heavily from the music we've mentioned and does so in a more than competent way. There are some fine highlights to be found, especially the melodic 'Rediscover' (perhaps the title refers to what's happening, revamping these sounds for a new generation); 'Phobia' and 'No Use' both have just a hint of pop, marking them out as potential singles and 'Wake Up' offers a rockier alternative; 'Corridor' has a nice space-rock ending; the short but sweet 'Detonation' doesn't explode like its name suggests, but it is one of the best songs here and changes their format just a touch, bringing in a spoken-word section; 'Fields' is another one that's a cut above their average. Besides these songs, the rest are all perfectly decent examples of their genre even if they bring little new to the table.

'Things Look Up Again' isn't perfect by any means; you could say it's a little overlong, perhaps slightly repetitive at some points, and therefore would maybe have benefited from losing a couple of songs. However, their clear love of guitars is staring you in the face and it's difficult to find a song that could be described as anything less than good, and most are very good. The band sound tight and they sound accomplished: Chicane Theory isn't a band of amateurs, they know how to make good music and if this style is one that ticks the right boxes with you then you won't be let down here. All we can suggest is perhaps a touch of more variation wouldn't have gone amiss, but really that's just nitpicking. 'Things Look Up Again' is a solid album that achieves exactly what it set out to do.

Chicane Theory's website

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