Artist Spotlight

Review: Chicane Theory, “Things Look Up Again”

No Comments 8 August 2013

Review: Chicane Theory, “Things Look Up Again”

“Roesler’s voice is built for rock’n’roll - easily moving from a whisper to a scream, and never sounding like the cookie-cutter rock star. It’s all in the tone; the guitars, vocals and dips and dives in rhythm and melody work in perfect synchronicity.”

Artist: Chicane Theory

Album: Things Look Up Again

Genre: Rock / Fuzzpop

RIYL: Jawbox, Shudder To Think, Seaweed, Foo Fighters

Chicane Theory Things Look Up Again

Sometimes when you press “play” you just want to hear some rock music. Not something that’s complicated, masterfully paying homage to an identity crisis, or setting the world on fire with conceptual overproduction. Sometimes you just want to rock. To let guitar riffs and drum beats drip down into your psyche and listen to something that makes total sense to your ears. Enter Minneapolis-based Chicane Theory.

I was immediately and directly drawn into Chicane Theory’s Things Look Up Again based on two things: the strength and confidence of the guitar work and the tone of frontman Nicholas Roesler’s vocals. There’s a very classic alt-rock approach to both the songwriting and style of the material on display with this record. As a vocalist, Roesler emotes and adds an assertiveness that breathes even more life into songs that are simple on the surface, but incredibly layered underneath.

“Happily After” starts strong and offers the listener a glimpse of the guitar-driven rock that populates the record from start to finish. It’s an accessible, well-crafted track that easily serves as a single to bring in new fans. Then “Rediscover” kicks into gear and it immediately becomes clear that we’re not dealing with the simple catch-and-release mentality of modern rock devoid of substance. “Phobia” locks into a fluid groove and provides a more unconventional take on rhythm and melody interplay that easily stands out as a favorite (I still can’t stop singing it, as a matter of fact).

Winding in and out of shadow and light and taking more than one unexpected turn, “Corridor” clocks in as both the longest and most interesting track musically. It dodges and weaves in a way that feels like a comfortable stretch for Roesler but doesn’t stray too far from the other songs on the record. “The Day” is another standout track, again displaying a strong vocal presence and sticking in the psyche long after it’s over. 

There genuinely isn’t a single misstep here: songs like “Wake Up,” “Moments,” “Polar Guitar,” and “No Use” are solid and stand on their own. They’re only upstaged by Roesler’s own pen - “Detonation” is a slight departure, tapping more directly into the fuzzrock, lo-fi vibe that hangs around the edges of the other songs. “Fields” slips and slides in a mix of clipped guitar tones, rhythmic anomalies and more strong vocal melodies - it’s a trip, and one I was willing to take over and over again. “Wired So” closes the album in appropriate fashion, powering down as smoothly as the album started up.

I was both pleasantly surprised and impressed with the deft attention to detail and dynamic quality of the songwriting and overall sound of Things Look Up Again. Roesler’s voice is built for rock’n’roll - easily moving from a whisper to a scream, and never sounding like the cookie-cutter rock star. It’s all in the tone; the guitars, vocals and dips and dives in rhythm and melody work in perfect synchronicity. It’s a strong, assured set of songs that makes Chicane Theory, and Roesler as its frontman and songwriter, a force in the new alternative rock guard. A truly inspired and wonderful example of nodding to vintage alt-rock while employing unconventional song structure in a radio-friendly format. This is charismatic, potent power-rock with character.

 


Chicane Theory website: http://chicanetheory.com/

  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit

Your Comments

No Comments


Share your view

Post a comment

Submit the word you see below:



Notify me of follow-up comments?