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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

CD Review: Chromatics

Artist: Chromatics
Album:
Killing for Love
Label:
Italians Do It Better
Rating:
4

If others are anything like me, they might have first heard the Chromatics during the opening scene of Drive (2011), arguably one of the most engaging opening sequences from any film ever. In that scene, they provide the “Tick of the Clock,” a thuddingly simple and rhythmic song loaded with a rare kind of intensity, emanating cool and a style forging toward the cinematic.

Their album, Kill for Love, is made less of that cinematic electronic type. It is, instead of the vocalized, quasi-pop orientation, mostly electronic, partially everything else. Their influences appear to range everywhere from the hypermodern to, broadly speaking, the ‘80s.

That is not to say, of course, that the album lacks a design. On the contrary: While it exudes a variety that might be confused as scattered, there is an aesthetic union overall which is a type of melancholic perturbation in regards to, what else, love.

At times, M83 is recalled in their sound, but whereas M83 sweeps toward grandeur in a seeming rebuke of defeatism, Kill for Love refuses that tendency and instead sinks toward the low, slow rhythms of a more shadowy moodiness (in keeping with the tone of the album’s title). Important to note: This isn’t a bad thing.

Overall the album is well-produced, and the vocals are more than adequate, but where it really shines is in the instrumental stretches. That is, particularly, where the music really rises to a cinematic plain, high density, heavy sounds, rich feelings and a strong degree of focus.

If you’re expecting a whole series of “Tick of the Clocks” here, you’ll likely be disappointed by this one. It is, though, well worth the time, and is a strong showing from a group that probably is, and deserves to be, on the rise.

Check out these songs: “These Streets Will Never Look the Same,” “Lady,” “There’s a Light Out on the Horizon”

For fans of: M83, The Knife, Massive Attack

— JAMES O’HARA

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