Chemical Refugee’s authentic presentation of hard-hitting, soulful electronic rock is the sort that satisfies in a refreshing and partly nostalgic way. Fusing distortion and synths, delicacy and grit, quiet and volume – the band offer up a sound and songwriting style that reaches out and connects in a hypnotic and memorable way.
Decimated Days is a song that very quickly marks its territory. The band’s leading vocalist gives off something of a heavy metal layered on top of indie-rock vibe, and the structure of the song showcases the ups and downs with passion and power – utilising those moments of change, the stops and the starts, the build up and the break down, so as to fully and effectively underline the progressing emotion of the soundscape and the sentiment.
The band’s use of contrast leads me to believe that the word authentic is an important one. The performance and the songwriting step into view first of all – this passion for making music, for creativity, appears to be the driving force. The opening, electronic instrumentation creates a certain mood, the almost whispered vocal follows well in line with it, yet the following weight of the hook – the change in key, the power of this change, that contrast – it offers up something else entirely. Both elements work powerfully together, and the result is a genuinely original sound that comes loaded with individuality and reflective, considerate writing.
The concept and chorus for this particular release alone are enough to have you thinking it through or singing it over and over long after the music has stopped. There’s a lot about it that works. I’m reminded on occasion of both Marilyn Manson and Awolnation, but all in all there’s something uniquely fresh about the Chemical Refugee approach to making music. Hopefully there’s a lot more to come from the Sydney creatives.