Review Summary: Street Chant offers a glimmer of hope to the waning punk genre, and makes a bid as one of the best rising acts of the still young decade.
Street Chant practically came out of nowhere. Emily Littler, a teenage binge drinker, was inspired to be on stage from nights spent watching bands play at her local pub. Right around the same time, friend Billie Rogers decided she hated the band she was in – and had a bass guitar bestowed upon her by her father. With the addition of Mikey Sperring on drums, the young and aspiring punk rockers were primed for their first get go…one that yielded a top twenty international single (that wasn’t even an official single) in ‘Scream Walk.’ It seemed like fate brought the trio together…and even when adversity struck in the form of Sperring’s departure, drummer Alex Brown simultaneously left his band in search of one just like Street Chant, thus eliminating any chance of a setback. In October 2010, Street Chant caught the eye of The New York Examiner
, who proclaimed them to be one of the top five up and coming acts. With their full-length debut Means
finally on the market in 2011, they once again seem destined to do great things.
is a raw affair, charged by frantic drumming and angst-ridden riffs that give the album a definite punk feel; one that is also accessible enough for a mainstream audience. The record is packed with eleven quick, punchy tunes that will have listeners tapping their feet, rocking in their seats, and occasionally even jumping out of them. Energy is the name of the game here, and like all good punk rock albums, Means
delivers the goods. ‘The Fatigues’ is anything but tired as it kicks things off with frenzied verses and a head-banging chorus. In combination with Brown’s perfect-for-punk vocals, Littler’s short but effective electric riffs, and Rogers’ audible bass contributions, ‘The Fatigues’ is a full band effort that leads right into their most successful song to date, the aforementioned ‘Scream Walk’ – which packs the punch of a lost classic from the Ramones’ heyday. ‘Blister’ further reinforces Street Chant’s punk rock credentials, with rebellious sounding vocals that prove to be an ideal fit in the song’s onslaught of intermittent machine gun style drumming and perfect bass/electric guitar interplay.
Energy may be what drives Means
forward, but balance is what keeps it from swerving off the map. ‘Yaba Ara’ is a prime example, beginning with a sinister vibe that gradually intensifies but never explodes. It chooses an ebb and flow rhythm and a plethora of impressive drum fills over a predictable climax, showing restraint and maturity on the part of band members who probably shouldn’t be expected to demonstrate either at this point in their careers. ‘Less Chat, More Sewing’ is another track that benefits from Street Chant’s sense of poise, delivering an ideal mid-tempo rocker that knows just when to abandon fury in favor of reprieve. ‘Stoned Again’ shines like a diamond in the rough, providing a leisurely but instrumentally exploratory ballad that, although soothing, never fails to be interesting. Even the dreaded “closing ballad” avoids clichés with its unwaveringly (and intentionally) dull tone, hammered home by discordant electric guitar picking and the echoed thuds that bring Means
to an intriguing, abrupt end.
is well-done in every respect, and its only flaws may be ones inherent in the punk genre. It isn’t the most groundbreaking musical effort of the year, and it doesn’t show us anything in the way of progression or innovation. But for all intents and purposes, it is a flawless “typical” punk rock album. The instrumentals are nearly perfectly executed, as Brown’s drumming techniques fill the album with a sense of organized chaos. In addition to being spot on with timing, he also throws in more than his fair share of exhilarating fills that bridge what would have been potentially dull gaps in the music. The girls also excel in their roles, providing driving bass lines and spastic, blistering chords that make the album an authentic exercise in punk. With shining talent, tons of youthful vigor, and balanced songwriting, Street Chant commands the spotlight for the whole duration of Means