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The Chakras ‘Build Me A Swan’

The Chakras aren’t a hard band to like, but they may be a hard band to love. This Dublin-born, London-based quintet produce polished and grandiose indie-rock that’s certainly appealing, but regretfully formulaic. Their debut album ‘Build Me A Swan’ follows on from their respectably received single of the same name, limitedly released last year, and The Charkas have managed to create a selection of tracks of equal quality – so, nothing better or worse, but severing lacking diversity.

The opening triplet of ‘Movement,’ the title-track, and ‘Beautiful Sorrow’ demonstrate The Chakras’ accomplished musicianship and comprehensively display their overall sound. This is alternative, indie-rock with numerous components centered around a singular aim – to sound epic. Component-wise, you have one part Arcade Fire, one part The Verve, half a part The Jesus And Mary Chain, ten parts Snow Patrol, and even one part Angels & Airwaves. Not exactly a bad range of influences, but fused together they make for the kind of big, climatic indie sound that so many bands already do (to varying degrees of quality).

The shoegazing tint on some songs is wholly welcome, ‘Slowdive’ has a warm Elbow-esque, ballad feel, and ‘The Resistance’-era Muse element on the synth-pop-rock of ‘Drifting (Take A Walk Inside)’ has some edge. However, the bulk of ‘Build Me A Swan’ is made up of ever-building, post-rock song structures with layers of U2 guitars, swirling strings, muscular piano chords and crashing symbols. Sometimes this works fantastically – such as on closer ‘End: Beginnings’ and the heavy, gloomy ‘Dark Horizon’ – but too often it sounds like we’re climbing with a band to a climax that never comes. It’s all a bit too 30 Seconds To Mars. ‘We The People’ is almost great, consisting of an energetic verse with an infectious groove (think The Music), but sadly interjected with an exceedingly average indie chorus.

Lead singer Rocky Whittaker’s vocals are – in this reviewer’s opinion – the best thing about The Chakras. Many will find them too much, which is understandable since the Brian Moloko meets Billy Corgan whine often nears nauseously nasal. However, the high-pitched, robust vocals add an element of uniqueness that the epic nature of the music is missing.

This debut from The Chakras is decent enough to warrant checking out and deciding for yourself. If you like all the bands name checked in this review (which you probably do), then you’re going to definitely like this album, as there is no denying their tightness and ear for a soaring melody, soaring guitar part, soaring bassline (soaring, soaring, soaring…). So, if you like you music to soar, The Chakras are your band. I just hope that, with the promise they’ve shown here, they manage to come more into their own next time.

Originally published by AAA Music here

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~ by cliveparisrozario on September 27, 2011.

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