The crisp drumming that serves as the backbone of The Chordaes’ latest single “Venus” might be the most alluring component in its sonic profile, which fuses elements from dream pop and alternative rock together to make a moving variety of post-punk wonderment. The narrative behind the lyrics of the song alludes to two lovers, represented by closely neighboring planets in outer space, being trapped in a state of limbo where neither can approach the other without violating the very laws of nature itself. The drumming isn’t quite as space aged as the gorgeous guitar ribbonry is, but the percussive rigidity rendered from this studiousness is essential to forming a Launchpad from which The Chordaes can heave their melodies into the universe above.
“Venus” is a fine demonstration of the relationship between a vocalist and a guitarist, and compositionally it exploits the best qualities of both players in this scenario - Leo Sawikin and Kevin Foley - brilliantly. The lyrics are carefully strung between the reverberating, druggy transmissions from the guitar, which frequently grow larger than life in size. The balance that the two exhibit is surreal, even somewhat postmodern, but it doesn’t stop this track from being the pure slice of pop/rock that it is. You can tell that the chemistry between the members of this band isn’t artificial in the slightest. Whether it be the singing, the guitar, Ethan Glenn’s drumming or Dan Cobert on the keys, everyone is focused and playing off of the musician beside them, creating a solid force to be reckoned with inside of every note they collectively dispatch.
As previously stated, the drums are so pivotal to “Venus” that one could argue it would be an entirely different song without their presence. The modulating tempo reminds us that even when we’re drifting through the frozen state of space, time is still passing by, one tick of the clock at a time. The urgency that the pulsating beat projects onto us gets a little overwhelming by the time we reach the three minute mark, but the unnerving quality of its relentlessness is curtailed by Sawikin’s vocals, which cut through the tension like a hot knife through butter. “Venus” is mood music on a very physical level, but casual listeners shouldn’t be apprehensive towards its artsy production value – which I might add is provided by none other than pop mixologist Mark Needham.
A melodic alternative rock track that doesn’t mind coming off as a bit abrasive in its textured noir-like master mix, The Chordaes’ latest single does one thing that few other pop songs released in 2018 have – it doesn’t try to be something that it isn’t. The guitar licks aren’t deceptively trying to fill up space or portray themselves as Hendrix-esque, and the construction of the song celebrates the framework of DIY minimalism from top to bottom. This will undoubtedly satisfy critics who are looking for something groundbreaking from the band, and I think that there’s enough wry melodies and captivating harmonies in “Venus” to make any diehard follower of The Chordaes happy as well. It doesn’t hide the fact that it’s an aggressive pop tune, and its honest presentation only contributes to its incredible authenticity.
Photo by Tom Parr