Tuesday, March 18, 2014
NEW 7" REVIEW: CHAIN LETTERS
I’m a little late to the party on this one so let me get caught up. Many years ago, I was staying with my friend Jami from the Sleazies in Providence, Rhode Island. I was sleeping, drinking, and entertaining in the band’s small merch room located on the second floor. I didn’t have many belongings and remember using Jaime’s old cell phone as an alarm clock. I guess I was in a constant of recklessness where time and day of the week or year didn’t seem to really matter that much to me. I would always hear him blasting the latest CDs from Rapid Pulse Records. He was their site designer. During the time, I had some of the most memorable blackouts of my life, if that’s possible. It was a rock n roll free for all in which I could hang out with the Sleazies and Midnight Creeps in a world surrounded by punk ferocity and passion 24/7. Not to mention I was writing a record there and learning some cool guitar tricks from everyone around me. I felt like a little kid in a candy store and highly recommend visiting the city if you’re looking for something memorable in your next getaway.
A band on constant rotation was Young People With Faces. I was totally floored the first time I heard their recording and thought it was a lost artifact from 1978. The snotty female vocals combined with raw melody and a crude band delivered the required aural sucker punch to implant these tunes in my head permanently. Turns out that the band was coming into the area for a few shows… That blistering hot summer had a lot of wild times and unpredictable silences wrapped in vivacious music and personality. The band eventually came into town; I hung out in the “band” van with them drinking relentlessly waiting for their time slot to come up. As always, the cops showed up and shut the show down before they had a chance to play, underage age drinking, permits, blah blah... While hanging out with the drummer and her Dad, this was also my first meeting with their singer Sophia Dilley, who had this cool aloofness going on with her friendly demeanor.
Cancel the band’s performance? No way, the crew took the show to the” basement” back at the house and the band kicked ass. They fiendishly rumbled through their set with such perfect ease I was jealous. Jump to the future…It is now March 2014 and I came across a review of a band called “Chain Letters” that claimed it had members of YPWF. Sure enough, it’s the unmistakable vocals of Sophia Dilley. I immediately had to initiate contact and it turns out that she is currently in Los Angeles. Strange how these things happen. This two-song vinyl masterpiece is one of those singles you will keep playing on your turntable until the grooves are worn out. With an airtight backing band and the electric guitar mastery of Chris Parker, we have 2 explosive gems in the vein of Dangerhouse Records and those cool BOMP releases, harnessing the perfect blend of pop sensibility and punk rock fury.
The band is tighter and more influenced by moody power pop like the Nerves and certain Weirdos tracks. Sophia’s vocals have progressed into a bittersweet blend of Jennifer Miro and Josie Cotton. “Bad Reflection” is the instant hit off the single with its infectious verse and chorus that has these subtle vocal nuances that turn into hefty hooks after repeated listens. Now that’s songwriting if you ask me. The B-Side “Boulevard Girls” is a sickly sophisticated mix of the Buzzcocks and Blondie power/punk style. Actually, I’m getting addicted to the “Boulevard Girls” as I can’t seem to stop listening to this track. If you’re looking for seriously good influences of real punk rock in your power-pop collection, you need to get this. I think it’s sold out. I need to know when the album is coming out. This is one badass record with no apologies for its style that outsmarts others trying to mine the same vein. Unlike those wannabe’s, this doesn’t suck one single bit. Get with it and listen to the tracks below, I’m also including YPWF to make my point. Until next time….
Chain Letters Facebook
Fear and Loathing in Long Beach- K.M.
Fear and Loathing LB Facebook