Thursday, April 02, 2009

A Proper Review: The Chairs - Laugh, It's a Fright

Faithful readers may recall that when I ordered the new album from The Chairs, I made sure to note that they promised me my very own haiku. And I got one!! Did you? I invite anyone who ordered Laugh, It's a Fright to post theirs here for all to see.

So, favorite blogger? What? To roughly quote Tsuru, I am not a type of Fork, Pitch or otherwise; I am not Gorillas, nor am I Bears; I'm Not Floating, or sinking, or Drinking Aquariums. Maybe The Chairs should have laminated their haiku and strung it on a lanyard so that I would have the credentials to be on their press page, where they so kindly keep quoting me.

Favorite Blogger Status put some pressure on me, because I didn't love the song they sent me as a preview ("If You Were a Murderer"). What if I hated the record? I decided right away that I just wouldn't write about it. Thankfully, I didn't hate it at all. Quite the opposite. It made me smile knowing that this amazing sleeper cell of a band was out there making good music in their dorm room.

The album starts off with my favorite track as of right now, "This Isn't a Fire Fortress". Smart, crisp lyrics are set to a driving beat and adorned with little surprises like neat synth effects, trumpet phrases and nice harmonies. The first three songs are a perfect introduction to their sound. Then "No Fingers" started to play and I stopped everything I was doing to listen. It was only 1:38 long. I played it again.

"No Fingers" is an achingly beautiful song. It's one of those songs that you will play over and over again, using the length as an excuse every time you hit the play button. It's nothing but their signature vocal harmonies and a piano, and it just kills me how pretty it is. Bands like The Arcade Fire and The Decemberists make gorgeous music like this all the time partly because they have dramatic instrumentation to help. But The Chairs are making my jaw drop without any superfluous stuff, and now that I think about it, very few bands have done this in the last decade. "Magic" by Ben Folds Five and Radiohead's "Exit Music (For A Film)" are two songs that come to mind in comparison.

This record isn't perfect by any means; they screw around with a T-Pain-esque auto tune effect and misuse the word "concubine". But on their other hand, it can't be denied that the lyrics and melody in "Until We Stand Together" are flawless. The excellent songwriting can't be ignored regardless of whatever experimentation they try that works or fails. I look forward to the day when they are in a car commercial or on NPR or marry Zooey Deschanel so I can fall on my sword and die.

MP3: The Chairs - This Isn't a Fire Fortress

Buy Laugh, It's a Fright


David said...

@Christina - I think you're right on the money with your review of The Rentals new EP 'The Story of a Thousand Seasons Past'. The Rentals were definitely 'hot' with the driving bass, pulsing moog and Matt's strong, clear vocal style on their first two albums 'Return of the Rentals' and 'Seven More Minutes'. 'The Last Little Life' EP was more of a transition album with it's mixture of strings, softer vocals and limited use of the infamous 'moog sound'. 'The Story of a Thousand Seasons Past' is a much more sleepy but ultimately satisfying 'The Rentals' experience. In particular, 'Song of Rememberance' has some really catchy hooks and is my favorite song on the EP. It's truly a beautiful album that's made even better with the multimedia experience of

Christina said...

Hi David! Thanks for leaving a comment. I'll have to give Song of Rememberance another listen.

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