And now, for something a little (if not completely) different. As ye keenest of readers may remember, we reviewed Icarus, a damn fine EP from Richmond's Conductor some time ago. The band's confident ability to harness the best qualities of multiple genres in one cohesive whole were a big draw, and so when the vocalist/guitarist for said outfit, Jason Roberts, approached me with a track from his new project, I had to bite. "Different from Conductor," he said. "But hopefully you'll dig it." And so the hook was set.
As it turns out, the CAPS-LOVING CHNNLR is, in fact, quite a different animal, both sonically and aesthetically. This duo--also comprising one Jeremy Brooks--takes a significantly lighter edge. But that certainly isn't a bad thing, and, rest assured, I do indeed dig it. Incorporating elements of shoegaze, dreampop, and good ol' indie rock, CHNNLR frankly occupies a musical space with which I am quite unfamiliar. But unfamiliarity breeds opportunity, and here we are, honored to be presenting "FAVORITE LIGHT," the excellent first single from CRYSALIS, CHNNLR's forthcoming debut EP.
"FAVORITE LIGHT" carries itself with an airy ambiance--and I mean this in the best of ways. While decidedly ethereal, the delicate vocal stylings and synth-y applications feel exploratory without feeling unmoored. While any of this particular scribe's misinformed musical touchstones are destined to be inaccurate, I'm definitely getting a Meddle-era Pink Floyd vibe from this track, both in terms of the gentle build into the chorus, and the full-hearted vocal delivery in the back half. The attention to sonic atmosphere is evident, and despite a lack of the signifiers we metal fans typically associate with a "full" sound, CHNNLR has provided a complex, intriguing, and dynamic platter. A well-placed moment verging on blackgaze erupts towards the end, but this diversion only amplifies the effectiveness of the ambiance. "FAVORITE LIGHT's" effect is equal parts calming and eerie--the kind of track that works remarkably well as the soundtrack across disparate contexts. You can play on this thing when embroiled in the midst of a variety of moods, and it feels just a befitting.
Bottom line? "FAVORITE LIGHT" has become a prime example of the benefits of stepping outside one's musical comfort zone. I enjoy this track a great deal, and am eagerly awaiting the release the full release of CRYSALIS (which, incidentally, you can pre-order here.) There's a ways to go before that December release, however, so in the meantime, give "FAVORITE LIGHT" a well-deserved listen below!
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.