Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chrome Injury

by fandorin

Most great debut albums show a certain tendency to transcend music, the band and itself by what you could call "show off", caused by a deep desire of "defining", so you always hear more than the music itself. It's almost an indicator to me - if you can hear a band of that time, let's say, 1975-1982, seriously thinking about music and their approach to it, it's almost dead sure it's a band for me. U2's "Boy", Patti Smith's "Horses", Television's "Marquee Moon" and XTC's "White Music", the first Waterboys album, maybe R.E.M. and The Chameleons' "Script of the bridge" come to mind. Don't kill me, but I'd even count the first Dire Straits album among them. All simply highly intriguing, catchy and intelligent debut albums, all showing

  • both a sense of direction and adventurous minds, ready to change direction as well
    bands that have been playing together live for a long time already, so the debut was not a sketch, a study or a "nice first try"
  • enough promise to make people go out and buy the second one (he he Television, some 14 years later)
  • a certain openness, to dream it all up again on a different stage. Neither Achtung Baby nor Nonsuch could have been extrapolated from Boy or White Music. XTC could have taken up an industrial shoegazery direction, while U2 could have thought about their Celtic roots after playing the Big Music.
I'm clenching my teeth to avoid the word "experiment". The "gone wrong" connotation is always in my head. I wonder what "musical experiment" means, when an experiment usually serves to prove or falsify something you assume, in science. What does it mean in the realm of art/music? Is it to do what you want, to do something new? To do something different? To do something in a way everyone says, "wow, that's new"...but isn't all real art an experiment then!?

The reason why I'm farting this obnoxious guff into your face is that The Church could have gone many many ways from OSAH on without having to strain their multifaceted concept.

Chrome Injury shows many many things The Church avoided ever after. It's sunshiny, crashey-bangey, it has chop chop chop guitars, it has west coast harmony vocals and that fantastic, huge explosive drum sound (which is pretty unique). It's the opposite of "shimmering and ethereal" (btw, everyone using these words on these boards owes a drink), but the harder sound, the rocker wail of the guitars suit the overall atmo of OSAH perfectly. However, there IS something they would explore later - the infinite variations of a D - Dsus4 - Dsus2 chord progression. A riff so basic and catchy, a real arch-riff, an riff-of-Columbus.

There will be few fans who'd say "Chrome Injury is my favourite song by The Church", but sometimes, when I'm drowning in the opiated desert night dust of P=A or the heavy-eyelidded sea piece of AENT, something in the back of my mind longs for the sheer swagger and road movie power of something like Chrome Injury, youthful, maybe a little bit sturm and drang, more airguitarey than airy.

Always really really liked that song!!


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