The Chesterfield Band was on tour in 2018 and at least some of the topics on their release Early Days seem to revolve around that. The songs felt a little more pop oriented to me with a foundation of rock.
They open with “Home” which I surmise was about them on tour and wanting to go home. It starts off pleasantly with subdued instrumental elements and a catchy vocal melody. The chorus is grand and has an almost overwhelming hopeful tone not too far from Mumford & Sons. In fact it reminded me of the very same kind of cathartic, hopeful feeling I’ve heard at Sunday worship.
“Our North Star” has a similar type of hopeful feeling but the verse and chorus don’t have such a dynamic leap. This song felt very pop oriented. It has a sweet, tender sort of commercial appeal that a general demographic can appreciate.
“Imagining Nothing At All” is the band's official single. I can hear why. I especially liked the guitar work on the verse. It reminded me of “Blackbird.” It’s a well done song and I liked everything that was happening. That being said I wish the chorus didn’t head into such a pop oriented direction and just fleshed out the somber qualities of the song. I also understand the decision considering it was a single.
They had my attention with “Standing Still.” It starts off very bluesy and I would argue the lead vocalist might sound her best on this track. They really pull off the bluesy sound and I was really feeling the beauty in that. The band decides to push the energy into a very hopeful direction where it feels optimistic and bright. As someone who is more of a blues purist with reverence for blues artists like B.B. King, I think you have to tread with caution when doing this. The blues for me is really about the blues and exploring the beauty within that. If it starts to feel too positive well then it’s really not the blues. “Standing Still” sort of pushes that threshold, then comes back down and then pushes it again.
“If It Doesn't Hurt” felt like a straightforward song. It’s a mix of funk, rock and pop. The guitar lead was really intense which actually made me giggle because the rest of the song doesn't feel like that. Last up is “If You Love” which is funky and infectious song that you can put in the win column.
My only advice would be to think about how they can hammer down on a signature sound. They seem to be following most of the rules of how to make accessible songs and what you have here is just that. That is a good way to cast a large net and in no means is a bad thing. The harder thing to do which may take more time considering this is their debut is finding a signature sound which I encourage all the artists with whom I worked over the years to try and find.
I like this band, I like their talent and I like the fact they are hitting the road. Overall, this is a very good debut from a band that has a lot more than just the basics covered. I look forward to hearing more from them as they evolve. Recommended.
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