Review Summary: An album to grow up with.
As an excitable young teenager, when I first happened upon a band I thoroughly enjoyed, I tried to force-feed them down the throats of anyone who was willing to listen. It didn’t make sense to me yet that music was a subjective art and that what sounded flawless to me could actually be genuinely hated by another. I remember when I tried to make my old university roommate listen to them, cranking old Chevelle hits like “I Get It” and “The Red” through his speakers in a vain attempt to elicit a response out of him. He passively shrugged at me. Confused and angered, I asked him what he didn’t like about them. He looked at me and said “every song sounds like a single”.
I still think about that to this day. And you know what the funny part about it is? He’s absolutely right, he nailed it in fact. That’s what kind of music Chevelle plays, strings of hit after hit after hit of crushing hard rock. And while he obviously enjoys an album with more of a cohesive concept built around a few standout tracks with more passive ones, I crave music that grabs my attention and holds it constantly.
By the time I found Chevelle, it was 2007 and Vena Sera
had already been released. The band was in their prime. And while that album could make a hard case for Chevelle’s best ever, their 2004 hit This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In)
firmly stands in its way as a staple of the hard rock genre in the new millennium. Their third album truly is the centrepiece of their career and an example of all the things the band does well, from the ruthless bludgeoning of tracks like “Get Some” and “Another Know It All”, to the darker slithering undertones of singles “Vitamin R” and “The Clincher” that groove deeply. It grabs your attention and holds it until the very end, each song bringing something special and unique to the table. The pacing of the album is also flawless, no song feels out of place and the heavy tracks are dispersed properly throughout, not compressed into one half. There isn’t a second wasted on this. The definitive scream in “Emotional Drought” is just as exciting as the more subdued moments on a song like “To Return” that build up slowly to a fascinating bridge section almost three minutes in.
But what really makes this album a marvel is its timelessness. That’s the one thing about rock and metal that a genre like pop will never be able to emulate. This Type of Thinking
is the kind of the album you can bang your head to as a young short-tempered teenager, and then when you grow up and come back to it, it retains the same sense of awe it always had. What’s even more impressive is often times it’s not the same songs that bring this feeling back. When I first heard this album, I hated slower songs like “Panic Prone” or “Bend the Bracket”, clinging to the songs that were more immediate. Today, I’d say those tracks stand alongside the best songs on here. They’re the more mature songs on the record. The closing track, while slotted into the hated category of “Chevelle acoustic songs”, is a dark and emotional track about the battles we all have growing up and trying to find ourselves, often sacrificing what makes us special in favour of trying to be like someone else. It took until my twenties for me to understand how important a song that is, and I don’t know anyone that hasn’t gone through that endless internal struggle. It’s unfortunate that it’s really one of a handful of Chevelle songs that won’t jump out at you right away, it’s almost apocalyptic feel is perfect to close an album out.
Chevelle are a band you can grow up with. For me, This Type of Thinking
is the kind of album that somehow always feels relevant to wherever I’m at in life. If you’re a rock fan, there’s always a song on here that you’ll be in the mood for, and that’s pretty damn cool because most rock bands just can’t be that adaptive and flexible. I understand my review for the album is as subjective and selfish as they come, but nobody slaps a 5/5 rating on an album without it having a special meaning to them. It all comes down to what you look for in music. If you crave the heavy and emotional landscapes of hard rock, there really aren’t many albums in the last 15 years quite like This Type of Thinking
. It’s raw, beautiful, and stripped down to its vulnerable core. Chevelle are a hit-making machine of a band and this album is their magnum opus.