Usually when I write a review of an album, I like to revisit it at least four or five times before I even think about what I’m going to write. For my review of The Airborne Toxic Event‘s selt-titled debut, I probably listened to their record 20 or so times (I was very bored at work). I’ve easily eclipsed that number with the new EP by Chaperone!, Cripple King.
And I could probably listen to it all day. Cripple King moves along smooth as silk and constantly drives forward, never looking back. Chaperone! describes their music as “Pop-Americana,” and that fits them well. They feature jangly guitar, wonderful harmonies and a whole slew of percussion instruments that add layers on top of an already very good surface.
The EP is five tracks, each one building on the last. “Fed on Coal,” the lead track, is a good introduction to the band. In 87 seconds you get a great idea of what the band is going to give you over the rest of the EP. It’s also a very good song in its own right.
The first single off the record, “Thomas,” really gets things moving. It’s a toe-tapper that will stick with you for days. Heavy on guitar and harmonies, the sound just sweeps over you creating a sense of euphoria coupled with underlying longing. It’s a great track, and a perfect set-up for the next track, “Witches and Sailors.”
My favorite line from the EP comes in this third track:
Send back thank-you cards
I am no messiah
No one should love a man
Who lives just to get higher
I don’t want to lie
Everyone within these walls will die
The final two tracks, “Letter to Home” and “Waltzing Topside,” rely more heavily on vocals than the other three songs. They also feature some of the most fully-realized moments on the EP. The lyrics take a solemn turn, which makes the harmonies that much more haunting.
Clocking in at just under 13 minutes, Cripple King is just an appetizer to the feast I think this band is probably capable of. They seem to have made all the right decisions on this release, and if they keep going that way I definitely see big things in their future.
- Chaperone! hails from Chicago and is: Shaun Michael Paul (guitar/vocals), Thomas Des Enfants (drums), Miles Doornbos (bass/vocals), Shayla Kloska (vocals/bells) and Mark Sheridan (keys/guitar).
- Check out the single, “Thomas” at littlepriest.com.
- Chaperone! will be playing a record release show at Subterranean on Thursday, October 14 with Dastardly, Dylan Kloska, and Elephant Gun. Tickets are $8.