Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Chrysler - Hands Across The Sea

Album review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk

First impressions last. Now that's a well known saying that is very hit and miss. Perceptions change all the time, and sometimes you need patience for this to happen or for things to fall into place (if first impressions lasted at Manchester United, then Sir Alex Ferguson losing his first game as manager against Oxford United would be our lasting memory, not all those trophies he won). In musical terms, Swedish band The Chrysler wouldn't quite be in that league, but, like with many sporting and other heroes, don't write them off if that first impression isn't life-changing. 'Hands Across The Sea' is the fourth album by the band, and their first in seven years. So they've been on a sabbatical, and to be honest, those first three albums are either a distant memory or simply passed me by totally. This is my introduction to The Chrysler.

First impressions then. Well, competent, quite nice alt-rock/indie-type sound, clearly able to write and play to a good standard, but nothing outstanding. There are loads of similar bands out there, they could be substituted for someone else without anyone batting an eyelid. Music, like lots of things in life, must be given time. Don't write anything off on first listen (unless it really is dire, and this was far from that), stick with it, or you might just find yourself missing out. Not brushing 'Hands Across The Sea' to one side upon first play was a brilliant choice, as once the songs are allowed time to show what they're really made of then the end product is far better than expected. The vocals on 'Bound For Love' are incredibly familiar, although it's difficult to pinpoint just who they're reminiscent of, but this is the opening track, the one that was OK at first. Well now it's sounding really very good.

With it being pointed out that this record is "the sound of Sweden rotting from the inside", given a few more months to get even better acquainted and dissect the lyrics could reveal even more depth. 'All Guns Blazing' was the only song we heard in advance of the album's release, and that is now sounding extra special, much better than we'd ever have guessed. The intricacy and surprising individuality of 'Second Coming' and others are a real surprise. Soon you begin to realise that 'Charlie No', 'A World I'll Never Know' and more are quite lovely songs. 'Ghost Of Lucy' and the rest are all more complex than you might think, incorporating traditional styles of music with the modern (and without becoming folk bores). They not only do emotion well, they give it an extra power that other bands struggle with ('Death Will Get You In The End', 'He's Gone (Under The Boat)', 'We Demand It'). The lovely, buzzing Americana-influenced 'Less Air, More Tobacco' makes for a grand exit too. We may not have known they'd been away, but it's great to have them back regardless.

The Chrysler's website

Buy the album

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