The more music that I listen to, the more it takes for something to give me that “Wow” factor, and the more it takes for me to feel legitimate emotion through said music. I have found that in our current era of music and production, the ability to make whatever one desires is extremely accessible with software instruments and VSTs at the beckoning of one’s fingertips, and although this is undoubtedly beneficial and positive, I sometimes feel that artists will tend to focus too much on creating unique sounds and being different, and in turn will neglect to craft a song that contains the correct balance between rhythm, experimentation and melody. Chill Russell is an alternative rock band of sorts based out of Austin, Texas that fuses elements such as psychedelia, experimentation and pop to create a unique sound that is both different and accessible. They are one of the few bands I have listened to recently in which I could tell they put a lot of hard work, sweat and tears into their music. Although Chill Russell’s music is not overly complicated and not the epitome of a modern production, they possess an aspect of emotion that is hard to come by, and you can hear that through their lyrics and performances on their newest eponymous self-titled EP Chill Russell.
The album kicks off with the catchy tune “Desert Island Blues,” which, although it contains an odd, experimental beginning, soon transitions into a psychedelic pop song of sorts with a thunderous chorus that will surely grab the attention of its listeners. One thing I quite enjoyed about this song was that it contained a guitar solo (which I usually am not a fan of) that still retained a beautiful sense of melody that actually added rather than subtracted to the song. The bass line is placed highly in this mix, and for good reason, as I found myself pleasantly drawn to it. The reverberated vocals sitting on top of the distorted chorus pointed the listeners into the right direction and flowed with the instrumentation very well.
The next track on the EP, and my personal favorite, is titled “Novocaine” and it is a hypnotic, slow song that I feel encapsulates the emotional reach of the EP. It establishes itself first with a soft, alluring guitar line, and with the music following suit, it slowly builds into a steady, well-paced track that allows for the vocal line to shine without distracting the listeners from the music lying beneath. Going along with this, I definitely appreciate the jangly guitar lines that were sure to either come from either a Jaguar or Strat, or perhaps one of each, that just further adds to the ambient, lo-fi nature of the song. I found the chorus on this song to be especially intriguing, as it was significantly heavier than the chorus, yet was still incredibly gentle and maintained the same overall feeling that the intro and verse convey. The drums served as a solid backbone to the instrumentation, adding its own element to the song yet certainly not distracting the listeners from the focal message that the song conveys.
Perhaps the most exciting song on the EP, Death Is A Poor Man’s Doctor, possesses an outro that functions as an ambient jam filled with reverb, tremolo and slide guitar that gives popular noise-rock artists a run for their money. Not only is this EP solid in the scope music, but the production is fantastic as well, and this song is a wonderful exhibit of the seemingly flawless recording, mixing and mastering of the EP. It is a bit epic, yet is not in any way pretentious, as it does not last for an overly extended amount of time. Chill Russell is very good with the brevity (or lack of in some parts) of their music, allowing most of their parts to last for the correct amount of time. Honestly, I am very excited to see what Chill Russell puts out in the future, because if this EP is any indication of the potential that this band has, then the upcoming releases are sure to just be stellar.
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