Rebecca Sowray is seduced by Portsmouth’s next big things.
Review: The Chase – new album – “No Damage, But Dirty”
Out Monday 2nd September
Portsmouth calls to mind monoliths of one sort or another and the sea as an end or a beginning. But that was yesterday. That was before my attention was on this.
The very south coast of England is home then to The Chase with their story beginning in debut album “Ever, Never or Now” in 2010. “Now” must be the right answer and a wander through their chronicles to date reveals an assured and narrative band.
The prologue to new album “No Damage, But Dirty”; this part of their story; comes in the form of the video to the pre-release single “Misspent Youth”. The opening images are familiar maybe, but there is humour in the shots that follow. The Chase have a light touch with the metaphor they reference in their lyrics and a guitar-rhythm powered exchange that carries Michael Turvey’s dynamic vocals. Changes of tempo and voice make the path drawn through the whole binding. And I’m holding my breath now for the rest of the album because this one track is a cellar full of clever.
So “Misspent Youth” stands as a strong opening track. An echo-ey white noise opening to the next track “Last Laugh” brings a pulse of travel to the album, a knowingness that this is a happily shifting sound; something adaptable. To borrow their own lyrics – “this is a game they can win if they try” It’s feel good stuff with a touch of something else each time.
“Way Out” is proper dance-floor work-out stuff with just about breaks to breathe. “I Told You So” will shift any still in doubt as to that absolute need to move to this music.
The end of A-side feeling track “So Long Ago” is a sadness stirring song that (cleverly) stops just short of sentimentality.
To throw in your lot with The Chase, to be fan-follower not listener, is to accept a strong dose of the dark-light aesthetic that flows through this album. The command in the chorus of “Free Fall” – ‘Hearing the sound of something that you can believe’ seems as good fan club guide as any to me. Nice guitar riffs toward the end of the second half hard wire a chorus as one of those that you will remember years from now.
I’m not sure how well the referencing one band by another thing works but I’ll say here and now I have a new “Wonderwall” in “Wantaway”. It’s quick and happy seeming whilst heaping in the disquiet by the lyrics and then setting them with accomplishment against some stunning inverted chords.
“Enjoy the View” is strongly observational, again showing off that very recognizable voice and if there is a hallmark to this album it might be counterpoint of voice and guitar line that flows fluently here.
I’m grateful that my digital review copy includes the vinyl only bonus “Never Come Down”, here are tune and lyrics that exchange answer and question, leaving me with the distinct impression that this is a track, and a band that I need to hear live, and soon.
Check out The Chase on their YouTube channel here http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUHO9LFan3E30dz2I7AeM1g
And details of the new album “No Damage, But Dirty” here http://www.thechase-online.co.uk/The_Chase_Official_Website/Home.html
Rebecca Sowray – talk to me on twitter @RedStar240