The Horse

by: Chap

Mixing a bit of the Velvet Underground with an early synthesized Primal Scream touch, The Chap uses a bit of each decade to create its own brand of music. Courage + Modesty has traces of early industrial near the end, but also could be mistaken for Human League or Kraftwerk. Primarily using the vocals of Claire Hope and Johannes von Weizsacker, songs such as "(Hats Off To) Dror Frangi" would draw comparisons to an early Talking Heads, it's a quirky pop arrangement with lyrics just as odd. But the tunes evolve into a toe-tapping New Order-like conclusion as the singer tries to find more musical samples. The range The Chap has is its greatest asset, but unfortunately it can be its own undoing at times. "Do It" has an ambient Eno thread throughout it, and has a somewhat melancholic idea that has a few too much layered vocals along the lines of Cher or a very experimental Thom Yorke. The Chap aren't afraid to go into unknown territory either, particularly with "Volumatic Spacer Device," a guitar-oriented tune with a horde of assorted bleeps and blips. "Effort Plus Guns" is the shining moment of this record; a mid-tempo tune evoking images of an early Lou Reed and John Cale arrangement. Shrieks with a funky minimal tempo only add to its luster. "BITSS!!" is an 11-minute journey that is at times brilliant, but too often tedious. "I Got Flattened By A Pig Farmer," the selling point of the record, is a radio-friendly tune without saying or doing anything extraordinary. At times highbrow for no apparent reason, this is an interesting and overtly eclectic album. ~ Jason MacNeil

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