CHON
Grow


4.0
excellent

Review

by lhystory USER (4 Reviews)
March 19th, 2015 | 35 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Gathering the best material and motifs from their previous EPs and Demo, CHON sound fresh and wield their unique sound to admirable extents.

If you marginally enjoyed any of CHON's output and experienced any trepidation upon hearing of CHON's signing to Sumerian to put out a debut LP, you can rest easy. Grow shatters all expectations and stands head and shoulders above the rest of their discography.

Grow plays much like a "Best of..." from the young group's work over the last seven years. Despite the numerous releases in the interim, the group made enough successes and mistakes in order to refine their sound in the best ways possible.

One of the primary critiques of Grow is the recycling of existent material across their discography. Whilst thinking about it may elicit negative connotations, in reality, the tracks barely sound recycled due to the overall homogenous sound of the record. The group seemingly handpicked the material from previous records with intent - the atmosphere of the record remains positive, laid-back, and accessible throughout the entirety of the run time.

Despite the accessible sound, however, the technical instrumentation and production value are outstanding. The guitars, bass, and keys weave complex tapestries throughout each other’s sonic spectra, complementing where necessary and deviating wherever an auxiliary melodic component augments the overall mood. As a result, the sound is full, rich, and uncomplicated. The perfect example of this can be found on "Can't Wait" one of two tracks to feature vocals. The lyrics are largely forgettable, and thankfully, only surface again on ”Echo”.

As mentioned above, the production value is fantastic. Whereas previous releases struggled with tones and mixing, Grow has no such issues. The guitar, bass, and drums occupy complementary spaces in the mix and rarely detract from each other's presence.

The most tasteful aspect of the output, in my opinion, is the pure and natural sound of the music in itself. The group clearly understands and adores analogue sensibilities. Whereas their contemporaries Sithu Aye and Polyphia often use electronic elements to supplant the music, CHON completely ignore and avoid any such elements. As a result, the album sounds and feels as if it is being performed right in front of you, for you. This ability to take advantage of the space within the tracks allows for immediate self-reflection and listener’s absorption into the motifs of the music.

I had nearly lost hope for CHON after Woohoo!, an album I struggled to sit through due to the tweedly nature of the recording. With each release, I started noticing more of an affinity for pointless leads that didn’t complement the music. This is indeed a trend that plagues nearly all modern instrumental bands. However, CHON really outdid themselves by focusing on the groove and flow of the music, which are exemplary and superior to others in the genre.

Grow not only shows a maturing group of musicians, but also hints at the things to come. If there’s one thing that’s indubitably clear is that the guys love playing music together and enjoy bringing their audience a little taste of the Cali sunshine.

For fans of their 2008 Demo and Newborn Sun, there will be few surprises here and more than enough nostalgia to sit back and think about the world a little more positively, even if for a little while.


user ratings (497)
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
paradox1216 (4)
Not a musical growth, but not a cancerous one either....

keza (3.5)
A dream-like melodic journey....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Jots
Emeritus
March 19th 2015


7563 Comments


(edit: fixed)

lhystory
March 19th 2015


19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stream here: http://www.artistdirect.com/entertainment-news/article/exclusive-visual-album-stream-chon-grow/11314611



Comments and critiques always welcome.

Jots
Emeritus
March 19th 2015


7563 Comments


i kinda dig the short paragraphs, but at times it feels like you jump around a bit, rather than flowing from one idea to the next. you sorta repeat yourself needlessly in places. for example, you reference the production in several paragraphs. i feel like you could reign in your ideas better, and make things more concise. some of the points you make feel long-winded to me. one suggestion: describe some of the highlights, so i can see what you mean specifically. you don't need to trackbytrack this, but it helps if you show me some examples, and get me excited to check this. "these guys like playing music together and everything works well" doesn't really get me excited, and that's more or less what this review is. it caters to people who already know roughly what to expect (those who've heard their EPs), whereas people who never heard this band might not feel compelled to based on this writeup

lhystory
March 19th 2015


19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree with the jumping around of ideas and needless repetition.



Maybe part of the inspiration for the review was my own internal celebration which was spurred on by the quality of the output, hence being geared towards me as a cautious listener, rather than new blood to the band.



Either way, I appreciate you taking the time to give me feedback on the review. I'll do better next time.

Comatorium.
March 19th 2015


5084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I like this album. Its chill and shit.

lhystory
March 19th 2015


19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It really is surprisingly relaxing for how technical it is.

TalonsOfFire
Emeritus
March 19th 2015


20969 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

I liked Woohoo! but am hoping for some more flashy instrumental sections like their earlier material

OwMySnauze
March 19th 2015


2540 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^Fall and Splash should do the trick for ya

dbizzles
March 19th 2015


15211 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Album sounds samey, but Chon always has to me.

I'm digging it though and I hadn't heard the 'recycled' songs in a long time, so it was actually quite nice to hear them again and they don't feel out of place.

I wish they'd mix up the atmospheres a bit more or play with some different effects, but this group is very promising.

Calc
March 20th 2015


17378 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Grow shatters all expectations and stands head and shoulders above the rest of their discography."



not even homie not even close

brainmelter
Contributing Reviewer
March 20th 2015


8375 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Splash is so rad. I also like new tweaks on Perfect Pilllow

lhystory
March 20th 2015


19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Calc:



What makes you say that? I thought everything they're known for has improved with Grow.

dbizzles
March 20th 2015


15211 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't really see any improvement in anything. Still like it, but don't think this stands above the rest of their discography other than the fact that it is an lp and not an ep.

SpoonerMcgee
March 21st 2015


111 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, easy to read. Absolutely love the CD. The songwriting for the new tracks is absolutely outstanding, it's very clear that they are able to focus more on flow and cohesion over the "pointless leads" you mentioned. "Book" and "Can't" Wait are prime examples of them maturing as songwriters. Just a couple years ago they would have not been able to compose such eloquent songs. People keep making mention of the lyrics lacking depth and its very true, but I feel like Ecco and Cant Wait are good ways of easing us into the vocals while not detracting from the other instruments. I enjoy Drew's voice, I hope they add a song or two with vocals for each release, its a great change of pace.

Voltimand
March 21st 2015


1670 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I liked the EP version of Echo more, but over-all this album is stellar.



It does need a little more variety, but we can expect continued growth for future releases hopefully.

brainmelter
Contributing Reviewer
March 21st 2015


8375 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Just wish the guitar tone wasn't so flat sounding

AtomicShane
March 22nd 2015


2121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Definitely could use some more variety, but super solid album aside from that

Voltimand
March 22nd 2015


1670 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Might have to bump this to a 4.5 cause it grows (pun intended) with each listen, or at least a 4.3.

MikeC26
March 23rd 2015


3381 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Such a chill record. Gonna be jamming this all summer.

Calc
March 24th 2015


17378 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ugh perfect pillow was so much better the first time they did it



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