Review Summary: As a famous karate master once said, hammer on...pull off....
One fact to keep in mind while listening to CHON’s music is that they were more talented at the age of 14, both technically and from a songwriting standpoint, than most of us ever will be. They have developed a unique brand of instrumental wizardry all their own that lies somewhere between progressive metal and alternative rock that feels fresher than a Southern California breeze. Their debut EP, Newborn Sun
, shows the young band toning down the relentless nature of their now famous demos and showcasing an evolved mentality of songwriting over speed which results in the best of both worlds.
This will inevitably alienate the bros who will wonder why CHON “went soft” here which is unfortunate because all the technicality fans want is present in spades and with the upgraded production, sounds (apple) crisp and refined. The songs themselves as well as clicking in all the right ways to this listener are frankly top tier works in rock music in general. Sweeping (literally and figuratively) passages bring to the forefront CHON’s penchant for the progressive which with their SoCal flavor is extremely interesting and more importantly is a giant breath of fresh air in terms of originality. The wank is strong in this release there’s no doubt about that, but the guitar virtuosity isn’t used as a crutch for uninspired writing. Instead it serves to add bits of flair throughout, making the typical prog transitions exciting while retaining CHON’s trademark chill factor. An interesting choice one may notice with this being a guitar record is the prominence of the drumming in the mixing. It’s noticeable, which may or may not be a bad thing depending on the person but the fills, beats, timing both with the time signature shifts and otherwise, and overall general sound of the drums is done very well and provides an integral part of Newborn Sun’s
Running at under 20 mins this EP is short. Three filler tracks clocking at around or under 30 seconds for an 8 track EP is indeed a curious decision as it’s a little miffing that the boys give us essentially 5 new songs after 5 years but the filler tracks don’t break continuity and flow seamlessly with the EP as a whole. The trick to enjoying Newborn Son
is to let go of your expectations, CHON were babies when they released their demos in 2008. They have matured and their influences have grown which have resulted in a different, though not completely foreign, direction and sound. The post-hardcore edge gives a little way to a newer brand of technical instrumental rock which revolves around the sunny, laid back warmth of San Diego where the band is from and believe me, being released June 11th, this release couldn’t have come at a better time.