Here’s a band who impress from the outset, Do As I Say proving the perfect introduction to both the album and the act. Gnome Chimpsky have captured something special with this project.
Driving initially with a sort of electronic-rock ambiance, a strong indie riff and a clear level of rising anticipation, the opening track goes on to evolve into a more stripped-back setting – a little like Sublime, early Incubus. Then you get the vocal, raspy and soulful – think Vedder, Cornell – and a song-writing style that’s genuinely unique. Even by the half-way point there’s a convincing level of passion and creative freshness to the whole thing.
Lyrically interesting at every step, Something To Hold Onto is an alternative rock project with some decidedly powerful ideas at its core. Weave in superb musicianship, some explosive instrumentals and solos, and the whole thing all at once connects and quickly invites interest in a live show. Festival-ready, without a doubt.
As the album continues, this beach-side guitar style proves a calling card of the band’s – along with their addictive melodic build-ups, and their varied vocal lead. Great song-writing, it can’t be said enough. Lonely Blue follows on beautifully, setting a new mood yet utilising contrast once again between the delicacy of the verses and the brightness of the hook.
Reverting back to the electronic production hinted at in the opener, Something To Hold Onto presents a shoulder-swaying, trip-hop-style groove, and a whispered vocal that promises intimacy and hypnotic escapism alike. A well-placed instance of quiet reflection, with a beautifully satisfying resolve for the hook line. Every album needs a moment like this.
Things switch gears a little for I’m Fine, suddenly the vocal is new, a level of vulnerability and unapologetic personal truth connects for its fearless exploration of, well, fear. Another stunning use of contrast, distortion kicks in to vamp up the energy and outcry – the uncertainty and passionate lostness at the heart of the song.
Really this album just gets more and more immersive and engaging as it progresses. The music and performances win you over with ease, then as you return to the track-list, the lyrics begin to reach out in ways that further the initial connection and help build something real between audience and artist.
During the latter half, Slow kicks back in with an indie-anthem vibe and a poetically observational lyrical thread. Add in a rhythm switch towards the end, that familiar fragment of reggae that keeps the uninhibited artistry of Gnome Chimpsky at the forefront of the experience, and once again things just work.
A touch of soft-rock warmth meets with a sense of longing for a comfortably entrancing See You Again, right before a high-octane, nineties-esque indie-rock classic gets ballsy and bold at the penultimate moment – Where Did My Friends Go? This kind of track speaks out in a personal way but also manages to keep things vague and inclusive enough to be made anyone else’s own go-to for volume and some sort of understanding.
An ambient and tribal-like, acoustic Mother’s Day comes afterwards to bring things to a thoughtful, peaceful yet rather melancholic, sleepy finish.
The self-proclaimed rock power trio have me hooked. Unpredictable throughout, yet still somehow musically and melodically on point with every creative decision made. A stunning playlist, an aptly-titled and rather timeless Something To Hold Onto.