Since 2001 Chicago's Chin Up Chin Up has been releasing quirky yet earnest pop music. Even though they suffered the loss of one of their members about two years ago, Chin Up Chin Up has indeed kept their chin up and made their newest album, This Harness Can't Ride Anything, one of their best, as well as their debut for Suicide Squeeze.
The record starts off with the upbeat title track, "This Harness Can't Ride Anything," that meshes the sounds of cracking whips, country-meets-indie guitar chords and strings. While it is a nice start to the record, it pales in comparison to my personal favorite on the album, "Landlocked Lifeguards." On this tune, we find front man Jeremy Bolen stretching his vocal range more so than in the other songs, as well as making use of backing harmonies, squealing/droning guitars, xylophone and a driving percussion beat. It's a shame that I had to wait until almost the end of the record to hear it.
As a matter of fact, there are chances taken all over this record that are a little surprising. Maybe that is due to producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse)? Regardless, it's nice to hear the band experimenting. One example is heard in "We've Got To Keep Running," which starts out normal enough, but towards the end of the song develops into something bigger with massive vocal effects being used. This was one of the only times that Bolen's vocals were really pushed to the front instead of being hidden in the back, or mixed into the rest of the music. However, if you want something more straightforward, check out "Islands Sink," as this is easily one of the most accessible indie rock songs on the album. Additionally notable is the soft and slow "Stolen Mountains."
Chin Up Chin Up has proven that they have not fallen into the sophomore slump with This Harness Can't Ride Anything. If you are a fan of avant pop and witty lyrics then this should snuggle in nicely on your CD shelves; and if you really love them then be sure and check them out when they are on tour with Oxford Collapse.
"This Harness Can't Ride Anything" MP3