Review Summary: I put your record on, and I feel closer to home.
I cannot decide what's worse: A band I listened to for several years announcing their break-up, or a band I recently discovered but grew so intimate with only to find out they have disbanded already. Looking at Chumped, the latter certainly hits hard. The Brooklyn-based indie punks retired – pun intended – with only one full-length, Teenage Retirement
, under their belt. Their self-titled EP was the first piece of work I listened to, and to this day it remains one of the best EPs of the genre for me.
I find unusual comfort in mellow bus rides, an ease I don't seem to be sharing with singer and songwriter Anika Pyle. Union Square
opens with leaping guitars and thriving drums, matching the speed of the New York City subway the song is about. Pyle's vocals are hopping back and forth to the tune of the guitar as she belts out the short, but to the point lyrics. They're descriptive when they need to be and introspective at other times: “The subway smells like ***, but it's lovely, isn't it？” ; “We are not alone - at least until our stop arrives”.
It's a banging pop punk opener sure to make you hungry for more.
and Something About Lemons
are the songs you're going to find yourself going back to once the quarter life crisis hits (and hopefully the mid-life crisis, too). Someday
features some of the most brilliant songwriting of the record; every single line is quotable. It's about being in limbo, wanting to break out, but overcommitting instead. It's about losing time, about work schedules and about finally, finally finding an escape. It loses some of the powerpop influences of the opener, instead opting for a faster punk style where the staple high-pitched guitar is the main remnant of the pop in Chumped's punk.
Something About Lemons
is the poppier equivalent, still dealing with similar topics. New are the backing vocals and the catchy hooks. If this song had been released a few years earlier, it could have risen up to be one of the anthems we still find at emo throwback parties around the country.
One of those parties you could visit with your close friend whose a music enthusiast just like you, someone like Eleanor.
Perhaps you can write a song about them later once you've both grown and grown apart. Put it on your debut EP, it's sure to be memorable.
Some pop punk bands fall back on 'unrequited-crush' lyrics. We've all been there. We can all relate, it's going to grab our attention. Well, maybe it won't. Chumped take a step forward to shed light on the dark sides of love we too often won't talk about. Let Him Lie
and Dear Emily Dickinson
form another thematic pair. Pyle sounds more melancholic than before when she sings, “And when he ***s you, you feel wanted[...]. And when it's over you feel empty, but you'd rather be deceived than be alone.”
Dear Emily Dickinson
is anything but blooming with romance, either: “I wrote you poetry about the way we kissed. I guess it's been a while, I just write grocery lists. Can you please get these things on your way from work？”
Is this love？ Dickinson is quoted before Pyle repeats I'm still loving you the same
over and over. Whether it's because she is indeed still in love, or because she is trying to convince herself she is, stands to question.
The deep emotion and everyday topics found throughout the EP make it effortlessly relatable. Musically it takes the best of the DIY indie punk scene, standout tracks being Something About Lemons
– and bear in mind this is a debut. There is an extreme amount of potential here, they could have been the Weezer or Jawbreaker for a new generation.
Yes, I want Chumped to be around still.
But at least they gave us Katie Ellen