The Chordaes release Venus (single)
New York indie crew The Chordaes weren’t content to simply utilize one style of approach in the recording of their new single “Venus.” In this song they combine elements from their wide range of influences to reshape a style of alternative rock that is somewhat outside of the norm in today’s popular music. Starting off with a cold, isolated intro that takes equally from vintage space rock and contemporary dream pop, the track gradually evolves into a sprawling depiction of the band’s sterling palate, which The Chordaes push to the very limit in both the structure and the production of “Venus.”
The mix of this song isn’t as equally distributed as the tones of the group’s sound are, and as a result the vocals aren’t quite as loud as I want them to be. There are a couple of points where they’re all but drowned out by the vicious consistency of the rest of the band, which is unfortunate because the lyrics are so intuitively relatable to the theme of the music. As the title suggests, “Venus” in many ways translates a feeling of drifting through space, powerless to control the direction in which we’re going next. It’s a shame that the articulately designed lyrics don’t get the chance to add to the narrative as much as the formlessness of the mix does.
The drumming in “Venus” is unapologetically spot on, and fills the void on occasions where we’re left wondering where the vocals have gone. The beat is a bit boxy, but not irritatingly so, and it’s piled high with so many unique frills that we get lost in the grip of the percussion instead of the plainness of its tempo. I also like that even when there’s a chance for the drummer Ethan Glenn to take over the entire single with his play, he hangs back and remains the role player that he was intended to be here. Frankly his contribution might be the only totally disciplined aspect of the entire song.
When we take a closer look at the guitar work by axe man Kevin Foley in “Venus,” we find a noticeable hesitance that rears its head in every chorus, but I don’t think that this is necessarily a drawback. Much like the self-control exhibited in the drumming, I think that part of the sensuousness of the riff we hear in this song is in its reserved, anti-showmanship style of attack. Where some rock singles rely solely on a big guitar lick to seal the deal, the opposite can be said of this track. Here, the six string is just another weapon at the disposal of The Chordaes – not the bread and butter of their sound.
“Venus” isn’t as cosmetically pleasing as it is intellectually moving, but it has an uncanny draw just the same thanks to its gritty, unrestricted character. What makes this song a worthy listen for fans outside of The Chordaes’ target audience isn’t its lyrical relatability or its fun hook; it’s the calculated shape of its musicality. The equalization might leave a little to be desired, but as far as I’m concerned this song is an experimental aficionado’s safest bet for intriguing new music this autumn.
Photo by Tom Parr