This reviewer’s one previous experience of Lee Chameleon was as one half of Lee & Willbee and their marvellous folk/electronica concoction. Now the Chicago resident – who divides his time between being a sculpture artist and dog walker – has gone solo, with an entirely self-written, self-produced effort which proves that his initiation in rhythm section work provides the strong foundations for the well-judged space and dynamics on this quality EP.
When the light funk guitar and crisp percussion and Chameleon’s cool wave of a voice kick in, it’s hard not to be enraptured by the opening track’s combination of breezy insouciance and sinister undercurrent. ‘Star Chaser’ switches from laidback to persuasive empowerment (“Take the bull by the horns… Grab the tiger by its tail”), accompanied by a nagging guitar riff. Isolated and lonely, ‘Pillow Puncher’ evokes the dreams of being lost in space through the medium of electronica whilst the busy ‘Divided Sky’, with its twitchy synths and drum samples, is reminiscent of the sadly neglected British act The Aloof. This just leaves straight-ahead rocker ‘Streets Of Gold’ which ends an otherwise excellent EP on a slightly disappointing note.
There are echoes of dreampop, wistful electronica, The Sea And Cake and Beck on this inspiring EP yet Lee Chameleon comes across as a true independent. Forgetting the one false move amongst the five songs here, it’s refreshing to listen to music which sounds so effortlessly cool.
The Sea And Cake, Beck, The Aloof