Happy Tuesday everyone! I don’t have a witty intro for this post or anything to tell you about in my life but why do I need that? I have a feeling that ‘Ladder Match’ from Chestnut is going to do all of the talking for me. I mean, their pitch said “post-punk sound collage with a kitschy horror movie bend”. Now, I may not know exactly what that means but I am more than excited to jump into this album and see so let’s do just that!
‘Ladder Match’ starts with an almost haunting intro of “Intro #2”. Although there’s not much to say about the introduction, I loved the way it set the atmosphere for what was to come, and, after a short radio clip to kick off “The Winter We Were Vampires”, it was off to the races. Thundering drums with driving guitarwork and echoed vocals, the whole “post-punk sound collage with a kitschy horror movie bend” instantly made sense. Although I couldn’t focus in on the vocals throughout this first true track, I did hear the word “vampires” being repeated throughout and loved the creepy ambiance also heard throughout. There are moments with an electronic sound comes off as a cold wind while everything else stays the course with the heavy-footed beat and I really loved how that all blended together to create a completely foreign sound.
The haunted atmospheric noises heard throughout “The Winter We Were Vampires” continue into “Botched Spot” and expand a bit. Much like the intro track, there’s not much to this minute-and-a-half-long song but it’s perfect and I love how it seems to dig deeper into Chestnut’s unique sound and style. It also, to no surprise, leads into “Larry’s Nightmare” perfectly. I was expecting a more straightforward track from “Larry’s Nightmare” but was instead given another almost reprise-type track that just continued with the haunting and spooky vibes that Chestnut does so well. After a minute of that, the album moved on to “Ron and Sammi Will Always Have the Shore”. I really wanted something explosive and intense but, instead, was given a more ambient side of Chestnut. Although I loved how it kept with the theme, I found this fifth song to be a bit sleepy and hard to focus in on, and, at four and a half minutes long, it just felt a bit lengthy for what it was. That being said, there’s no denying the creativity that went into this track and there are definitely some surprises throughout the song so you still have to listen to it– I’m not letting you off the hook.
Intro and “break tracks” are the name of the game for this album and “The Fink Who Saw Death” is no different than the previous ones heard although there’s something a little more orchestral about it. Think Dracula with a super soft and delicate piano piece thrown in, out of all of the “quick tracks” thus far, this one was my favorite and the way the more classical/ orchestral vibes bled into “The Original Wolfman” was beyond perfect. Think old Hollywood with a little swagger and a dark alley vibe, although another fairly slow-moving track, I loved everything about this. Again, the style is all over the place but absolutely solidifies that kitschy horror movie bend I was promised so I was more than satisfied as I listened through this track.
“Fix Me!”, the next “break track” is only forty-six seconds long but shows a whole new side of Chestnut. Although there’s still a sense of ambiance behind everything else going on, there’s also something just a bit more commercial about this track and it led me to believe that maybe “In The Lung (Right Here)” would stay on that course. Although that’s what I wanted, the album fell back into the ambiance that has been king throughout the album but, on this track, it comes with a more singer-songwriter styled vocal which was super interesting. Although the vocals lacked a sense of energy that I would have hoped they had, I liked the way all of the pieces of this track fit together– even the blood-curdling screams heard in the background.
After another more ambient-based track, “Dead Anthem”, which flowed into yet another “break track” entitled “You Guys Are So Immature”, Chestnut comes in clutch with “Creep Dance”. I was instantly in love with this track. Although way more commercial feeling with a more straight-up beat and drop-dead gorgeous vocals, there’s still a creep factor in this track that I found addicting and almost threatening. That being said, it was the vocals that had me stuck. A little echoed but full of emotion and heaviness, I loved every moment as the words passed through my house and found myself completely lost in the track altogether.
The final ambient track, “Bizarro”, is, well, bizarre. From a gorgeous piano part to audio clips of old-school television shows and the overall ambiance that Chestnut has solidified as their own style, this was definitely my favorite pause in the album, and felt it set the stage perfectly for “The Last Day of Robert Z’Day’s Life”. Another more standard track, this final song seems to call back to the singer-songwriter vibe laid out in “In The Lung (Right Here)”. Part of me wanted something a bit more triumphant and a bit more like “Creep Dance” but I liked the way that, even as this album ended, I was left a bit confused but super intrigued by the journey I had just gone on.
This is not a conventional album. This is not the type of album you put on in the background while doing other things. It’s the type of recording that commands your attention if only because of the confusion and twists & turns that comes with it. This is going to be one of those albums that isn’t for all of my readers but I do encourage all of you to give it a try and just lose yourself in the creativity that comes with it!
My Favorite Track(s): “Creep Dance”
For Fans Of: Halloweeny Vibes; Comfortable Confusion; Creativity
Mosh-ability: 1 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie is a bit sick so was sleeping upstairs in the bathtub; Autumn slept on my bed upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 6 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 7.2 out of 10
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Check Out ‘Ladder Match’ HERE!
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