Chronophobe
after a long year...


3.5
great

Review

by Mitchell D. W. CONTRIBUTOR (62 Reviews)
April 16th, 2020 | 46 replies


Release Date: 04/13/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In the present, looking back, and feeling just fine.

A nostalgic veneer surrounds the Peanuts cartoons, helped in no small part by the fact that they look so damn cute and innocent. Whenever they appear on the television, it’s all smiles and rainbows, like reuniting with an old friend:

“Man, this really takes me back! This animation is so adorable.”

Perhaps with the unfortunate intrusion of age, experience, and the inherent cynicism associated with both—having grown up in the world, probably being burnt once or twice somewhere along the lines—those rose-colored glasses are gradually wiped clean to reveal true colors. Thus, the next time the Christmas special rolls around, it’s more like running into the guy that tried to stuff you into the lockers in elementary.

“These kids are dicks !”

Now imagine that sentimental ambiance that comes season after season, leaving reminders of times past—the uplifting, the dreary, the in between—and those similar sensations of regret and lingering depression. It’s as if after a long year, the feeling that everything will be okay finally sets in was written after Charlie Brown found a miniscule Christmas tree, hung an ornament on it, watched the poor thing collapse into a heap, then wrote a math-tinged, emo-influenced indie rock record about the experience. It's an overdramatic description to an extent, but its core holds true; Chronophobe have delicately crafted an EP that possesses a familiar sound inside its occasionally twinkling guitars and dreamy, summer-esque atmosphere, yet it is silently venturing upon an understated journey through introspection. Nick Arseneau’s carefree, pleasant singing seems to float on air as it glides through “Tree Song,” cascading string chords coloring the scenery as a groovy bass quietly supports the gentle instrumentation. This eventually transitions into an excerpt of a Walt Whitman poem wherein Arseneau is suddenly brought to shouting, his voice hidden behind a hazy curtain, graceful glockenspiel strikes contrasting with the emerging lyrical motif of being unable to take root somewhere without some sort of comfort close by. It’s the traditional Trojan Horse of the genre: Establishing a sonic environment that harkens to memories of autumn nights or the early flowers of spring, then covertly inserting that nagging sense that something got messed up along the way.

Where Chronophobe excel when compared to peers is not necessarily in their ability to construct a mood, although they deserve credit for building such a lovely soundscape that matches the earnest nature of emo and the intrinsic playfulness of mathy escapades. Rather, the real success to be uncovered inside the brief release is that the Toronto quartet have their priorities set on songwriting first and foremost. The gents comprising this collective are evidently skilled at their chosen art, but only on rare occasions do they embark upon passages centered around demonstrating technicality as opposed to cohesion. The middle of “Sumer Moon” features a brief explosion in percussion followed by intertwined melodic riffs and trade-offs with the bass, the four contributing variables eventually coming to a head before being promptly halted to make room for the light-hearted chorus. Even then, this interlude feels as if it is a natural bridge to connect each part of the song together, which acts as an ode to shedding the darkness of winter, figuratively (or literally?) burning old clothes to make way for the comfort of the warmer months. As the tune bounces along its vocal harmonies and polished instrumentation, it seems to dress up the listener in a T-shirt and shorts, discarding that old sweater in favor of something bearing a more positive connotation. The change in wardrobe is reflective of the fact that after a long year… relies on restraint and finds its greatest strength in doing so.

It's within “Super Mario Lemieux” that this vision is fully realized. Despite its runtime matching fellow entries by clocking in below four minutes, its post-rock structuring seems to elongate the duration, allowing for the audience to sink into its soothing arrangements. After an introduction sparked by light strumming, subtle horn compositions blossom alongside the returning glockenspiel. True to the EP’s spirit, included phrases regard the passing of time and the inability to stay in it; Arseneau admits, “I'll never see you again, but I don't mind / I sure hope you don't read my intentions wrong / But unpacking everything I say would take too long.” Chronophobe allows this message to recede bit by bit as the horns return in the background, the song swelling to an enjoyably straightforward crescendo before drifting away as well, bleeding into the horizon like those nostalgic reminisces late at night. When the television set goes dark, the Peanuts are gone, as well as any thoughts focused upon them. It’s a reawakening to reality while reclining on a tired bed frame, wondering why you didn’t go to sleep some hours ago, yet secretly glad you visited the past for a bit. There are some gripes to be had, sure; why do I still dwell on this stuff? Why are those damned kids so rude? Why were people rude to me in the past? Why is the rhythm guitar so quiet? However, much like emo albums as a whole, after a long year… is charming in part because of it being rough around the edges. While flawed, it is brimming with youthful energy, an enticing atmosphere, and commendable compositional abilities. Consider this a confident step forward (or root forward, I suppose) by a small sapling, eager to add on more ornaments.




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user ratings (10)
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2020


11258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

EP is adorable and it keeps growing on me. "Tree Song" is actually awesome. But that last part needs that static-y rhythm guitar to blow up and pack a bit of punch; it's begging for it.



Album is currently only up on bandcamp: https://chronophobeband.bandcamp.com/album/after-a-long-year-the-feeling-that-everything-will-be-okay-finally-sets-in



Comments, criticism, cute cat videos, nerding-out sessions dedicated to cardio exercises all welcome

Archelirion
April 16th 2020


6062 Comments


Super Mario Lemieux is my favourite song title I've heard of in a while.
Very, very nice write-up fella. The Peanuts thing is a stretch but it works, and I love Peanuts, so props. I've got my Peanuts sweater on right now, actually.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2020


11258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hope it works, toyed with it a bit. You like?

Archelirion
April 16th 2020


6062 Comments


Yeah, works well :3 I'll give this a listen probably tomorrow, although I might have time to fit this in tonight.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2020


11258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gotta get through that discog run of WRVTH, eh?



And thank you for stopping by and reading my man

Archelirion
April 17th 2020


6062 Comments


Tbh I'm just listening to Korean people speak right now. No idea what they're saying but it's very soothing. Will jam WRVTH tomorrow too but I have a slight headache right now and actually wanna enjoy No Rising Sun ya feel

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 17th 2020


11258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That is definitely an album you have to clear space for, open up a guest room, let it live in your home, etc etc

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 17th 2020


11258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Tree Song" has been stuck in my head all day, help

parksungjoon
April 17th 2020


21216 Comments


oh yae its this thing innit you did mention this

you sure make it sound appealing

Digging: Prong - Primitive Origins

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 17th 2020


11258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yo, this album is def a thing. Press play and sounds happen.

parksungjoon
April 17th 2020


21216 Comments


sounds like it could be interesting if youre into emo and stuff



personally when i feel like shit i just put on the noisiest shit i can find. lately it's been the gerogerigegege

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 17th 2020


11258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I feel that. This is less of the "I feel like shit" kind of emo and more like that happy-go-lucky, nostalgic, sort-of-longing kind of emo, if that makes sense. Not particularly sad, but there lingers that pain of regret.



Like the review?

parksungjoon
April 17th 2020


21216 Comments


"but there lingers that pain of regret"

why would i want that when ive already felt this every day for years and years

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 17th 2020


11258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I mean, same. I find comfort in identifying with music, thematically and in terms of its compositions. Art as catharsis and that whole thing.



Can't relate to many people in my life, but I can always relate to tunes.

parksungjoon
April 17th 2020


21216 Comments


i find no comfort

parksungjoon
April 17th 2020


21216 Comments


thats why i prefer music that sounds like it could kill me

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 17th 2020


11258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And I get that, that line of thought isn't for everyone/this kind of music doesn't always offer that. If noise is what does it brother, let there be noise.

parksungjoon
April 17th 2020


21216 Comments


cum on and feel the noize

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 17th 2020


11258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Imma stick to my twinkly boys, my man.

parksungjoon
April 17th 2020


21216 Comments


fair enough



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