It’s safe to say that Chancius started his musical path the hard way, which commenced with him busking in New York subway system. Now a “veteran”, Chancius himself is no great shakes in front of the mic, the production is lo-fi and he has chosen to make a sci-fi concept album. However, from these potentially worrying initial descriptions, he and an assortment of well-drilled musicians have conjured up an album of quality indie pop gems.
‘Making It Up As We Go Along’ may have a throwaway title and its down at heel C86 indie pop fits the expectation to an extent. However, while both melody and chorus are light the song is made more sturdy by a strong bass line; resembling the late 80’s incarnation of The Wake. The title track is where the band really come to life. Featuring sadder than sad vocals and an equally elegiac keyboard melody, the song drips with gorgeous, romance-fuelled melancholy. Proving this was no fluke, ‘Pliers Donar’ and the Gary Numan-esque ‘You’re Not One In A Million, You’re One of A Million’ are further examples of the moody verses/bright, infectious chorus formula which serve the album extremely well as a whole. In addition, ‘A Piece Of You Wherever I Go’, ‘Big Wave’ and ‘Hologram King’ all sound cheery and poppy enough but then then each song takes a darker turn thanks to some fine key changes. Indeed, clever song structures and invention continue to the last track; the eerie, military drum-led ‘Thunderhead’.
Sure, some of Chancius’ songs may initially sound too tinny and lo-fi but that’s part of the charm. Because on the second and subsequent listens, the songs evolve, evoking the synth and guitar hooks of a vintage era.
Gary Numan, Bondage & Discipline, The Wake