Chandos’ first two EPs were self-released on cassette, but this time around they’re stepping into the studio with the support of Carpark Records, and ‘Rats In Your Bed’ is the overdriven, paranoid result. Bearing comparison with the heyday of fellow Bostonians the Pixies, and with dashes of early Biffy Clyro thrown in for good measure, this is a record burning with adrenaline and with a dynamic, muscular musicality which it is an injustice to label pop rock.
From the minute ‘Drug Bros’ comes stumbling through your speakers to the closing feedback of ‘Early Peakers’, Chandos display their mastery over the elusive knack of writing catchy rock songs which are not compromised on authenticity or grit. Strip back the layers of warm distortion which envelop the record, vocals and all, and it becomes fully apparent just how accomplished their anxiety-strewn tunes are. It’s a shame that some listeners will inevitably dismiss upon first listen “another boring fuzzy pop rock group” or something equally derisive, because as much as they might pretend not to be, all 11 tracks are precise and intricate. And filthy and strident, obviously.
Album highlight ‘…Pretty Sure It’s Tang Top’ shines with a killer chorus flanked by the elasticated guitar riffery which is just one of the gems to be found on the record. Vocalist/guitarist Dan Coulson certainly keeps himself busy, as twisting lead lines take ‘Cobra Points’ to another dimension and give the otherwise straight-up ‘Temperance’ a mesmerising outro. But more than any individual elements, more than the earth-shaking drums, more than the desperation which permeates the release, more than the leftfield chord progressions, it is the band’s cohesion which is really impressive. Disguising such powerfully urgent songs as disarmingly simple rockers is a monstrous feat, and tunes like the bile-filled ‘Fluorescence : Light :: Cubicles : Life’ and ‘Swim Gym’ are all the better for their uncompromising tightness. Without a weak track and without a trace of pretension, ‘Rats In Your Bed’ is the perfect way to start 2015; maybe getting hold of those cassettes can be your New Year’s resolution.
Words - Joe Ponting
Rats In Your Bed is released January 26th on Car Park Records
Listen to '..Pretty sure it's Tang Top'...