steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Chain Poets

Self-Titled CD

Garageband Records

Genres: post-grunge, punk, alternative rock

e-mail the band

Sep 16 - 22 2002

You have heard music like that of The Chain Poets before. You've heard it on the radio, you've heard it playing in trendy stores, you may have even heard it coming from the music in your own collection. It's got elements of punk, it's got elements of grunge, it's got elements of alternative rock. It's that stuff that people call "post-grunge." And while you may be getting somewhat tired of all the crap that's being spewing out of the genre recently, it's always nice to hear it being done well. Thankfully, The Chain Poets know what they're doing, and this, their self-titled debut, is bound to satisfy your pop-hook cravings.

While some songs here don't quite work, the band's songwriter/guitarist, Greg Kaegen, has done a pretty good job. Songs like "Answerless" and "Too Bad" are powerful, fun rockers that are sure to get your head bobbing along. Meanwhile, "Dial 9" succeeds as an enjoyable, light-hearted power pop number with an unbelievably infectious chorus. And then there's the band's experiments, which work surprisingly well. "Sweet Dreams," for example, lays Kaegen's vocals over an old-fashioned cabaret-esque instrumentation, complete with organ and vibraphone! While this concept wasn't exploited as well as it could have been, it still remains enjoyable and catchy. And then there's "Spleen," another one of the band's conceptual pieces. It starts off as a simple voice-and-guitar song, but is then enhanced with orchestral strings and a mellotron - to great effect. Unlike "Sweet Dreams", "Spleen" is done amazingly well, and the band proves that they can add some innovation into a relatively stale genre.

While The Chain Poets may not be the best new band out there, and they certainly aren't creating music of the best genre, they do manage to spice things up a bit. If you're looking for some catchy power-pop-influenced post-grunge, this album won't disappoint - but don't expect anything phenomenal.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 55 min 50 sec; 13 tracks; distributed by CD Baby; released 2001]