Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chemical Peel on Ride the Snake Records

Chemical Peel, a three piece from Columbia South Carolina are working in a bunch of permutations of post punk that make perfect sense to me, from experimental free jazz sounding chaos to dense highly calculated arrangements, they even trade off vocals which range from hardcore to detached chants. Basically like Blood on the Wall or Swimsuit they seem to be a little schizophrenic in style which makes for a great four song EP. They've got range and weird approaches to each of these tracks that won't easily give away exactly where they're ever headed.

On "Born to Kill" rapid fire high hat drums and a lower end distorted guitar melody gets this to stretch out for a bit before any vocals from Max on bass start in with a damaged echo surf meets a bigger hardcore epic sound. He's almost chanting these lyrics while instrumentally this winds around in complex Grass Widow arrangement that keeps this dark sounding and steers it away from the always angry punk sound. The jangly guitar is front and center on "New Paradigm" with a heavy layer of distortion and great supporting bass line in this intro section that these tracks seem to all have so far setting this scene of contemplative post punk. Big and layered this could be a Sonic Youth B-Side with disjointed guitars and Ony is Kim Gordon talking and yelling. The rest of the band works through different time signatures and guitar tunings with elements of Cap'n Jazz or even Jawbox here and there, muddy and thick with an appreciation for the finer parts of instrumental metal or even Tortoise.
A bass line opens B-Side's "Chance" taking the spotlight, and Victoria (Potty Mouth) on drums isn't any slouch either, Ony is Ms. Gordon back on vocals with the talking cool delivery. This is almost noise free jazz in it's disjointed elements, an almost post prog sound, I love the texture their getting here. It's got a distanced feel because they can't get too close and the complexity isn't cuddly either. You can hear the equations graphed out on the whiteboard in the rehearsal space. It's all feeling though, I don't get the sense this is notated on musical stands or anything. The Primus sounding bass takes over the breakdown section and it stays loose relying on these phrases like visiting a foreign country, they throw these fragments out there for basic functions. Greetings, what is your name?. Where is the Library?...until they get what they want. "Bike Thief" opens with a scream, it's a traumatic thing. More that a stupid car you really develop a relationship with this human powered way to get around and when someone takes that from you it's the worst. But living in any city something you'll inevitably experience sooner or later. They definitely aren't glorifying this bastard and it's all frantic high hat rhythm and swaths of jangle guitar to exorcise the demons.

Get it from Ride the Snake Records.

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