Quick to grab attention, Chives uniquely fuse infectious rhythms with raw indie instrumentation, passionate vocals and long-form melodies, resulting in a sound that’s genuinely their own right now.
There’s an element of Brit pop to this style, the nineties come storming back into view, but with that no particular comparison stands any taller than the band’s own stylishly independent way with creativity.
Asteroid kicks off the new project and is all of this – a story-line pours through, a fine balance between distortion and melody, softness and grit. The sound falls somewhere amidst the chaos of rock but with a knees-up, festival ready, Gypsy-folk kind of shuffle. There’s an anthem-like quality to many of these songs, and a sense that a live show is undoubtedly where things would really come alive.
Return to Estelle keeps those threads strong, leaning again towards bands like The Strokes, but adding fresh hits of musical flair every step of the way. The songwriting is brilliantly unique, fascinating, even the compositional aspects, and this helps make the Thrones project one that fans will undoubtedly come back to again and again; that alternative, addictive quality that makes you want to know every moment and every line like the back of your hand.
Katana kicks things up a little, a spacious yet equally fitting track, perhaps more mellow – but only in comparison to what came before, and this is certainly a fleeting observation. The band proceed to weave another whirlwind of an anthem around listeners, driving with intention but feeling free to let their audience fill in the gaps in the meantime. I’m reminded a little of Rusted Root at this point.
The project’s title-track is absolutely a highlight – quickly memorable riffs create an engaging contrast with a distant and again catchy vocal melody, and meanwhile this intense and fast-paced soundscape builds up the intensity throughout. A great track, wonderfully nostalgic and energizing. This whole album is actually the perfect way to kick yourself into gear on a Monday – or to escape from that requirement as the weekend swings into view.
Family Pearls fascinates further and adds a theatrical back and forth that works well at this point in the playlist. Opus follows and crashes into view with a tumbling drum-line and unpredictable musicality that’s consistently refreshing. Then Absentia tops it off with a moment of manic, spiraling uncertainty. Always these songs address topics or experiences that seem unique, but still you manage to cling to a line or two throughout – making it your own, until told otherwise.
Nefertiti is easily another highlight, chaotically addictive and rhythmically unpredictable in an awesomely engaging and hypnotic manner. Binocular follows and injects another hit of nineties indie-rock, even reference-wise, keeping nostalgia alive.
Pistol stands out for its mellow and spacious tone, the lyrics are almost spoken to you, softer here than elsewhere, with only a few distinct riffs surrounding them. The vocalist delves into personal emotions and self-reflection in a relatable, accessible way. A really well-placed moment of introversion. A personal favourite for its thoughtful and mildly psychedelic nature, and the uplifting increase in pace and vibrancy as things progress.
Payasso has a similarly quiet effect, lyrics pierce through – half-hinting ideas that intrigue and again refresh. Then Porcelain ramps things up with a soundscape that rises and envelops the listener in a classically inspiring fashion.
Green Lady brings the album to a mighty finish, effectively topping off a fine introduction to a band who make and break their own rules. Rock and its many genres is undoubtedly making a much-needed comeback, and Chives are a huge part of that. I look forward to catching these guys across festival stages next summer.