Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Album Review: Chaser Eight: Chaser Eight

Photo: Phil Hovey of Find Your Lights
Edits: Alberto Torres
For my regular readers, you know I don't really do reviews, but when I do, I break it down song by song. It has to be something special.

This one is special.

Chaser Eight's self-titled debut album Chaser Eight is musical gold. (Yes, I know, it's not their first release, just their first full length record). Released in February of this year, it took me six months to find it, but that's the landscape of independently made records, it may take a while, but if you keep looking you will find the good stuff.

Here's the thing, there is not a bad song on the record. That's hard to do. There are very few albums I can put on and listen to from start to finish without skipping songs. And if you care about music, albums still matter. Songs are great, but to get the full effect of what the artist is about, albums.

To me, the best way to really know how good or bad a record is, is to listen to it by yourself driving in your car. This one passes that test with flying colors.

There is an interesting dynamic within Chaser Eight. Lead vocalist/frontwoman/guitarist *AUDRA* and lead guitarist Pat Walsh write all of the songs independently of each other. But they may be the best male/female songwriting duo this side of Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo. Or Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.

"Lead Me Down"
This is a great opening track. Just a no frills, straight up rocker with plenty of pop sensibilities. It gives you a good opening impression of what you can expect from the rest of the record - strong lead vocals, excellent guitar work and a tight rhythm section.

"8 AM"
This starts out at as a melancholy tale of heartbreak and then turns hauntingly beautiful with Santana-esque guitar work before upping the tempo on the outro. It's a song in which everyone who has lived some life can relate. Lead singer *AUDRA* told me that they were going for a heavier sound than previous releases, but to me, this kind of song may be their wheelhouse.

"On Top"
Some nice double entendres in this upbeat pop rock ditty. There's more to than just that. This is the first song in which you get a taste of the sultry playfulness in *AUDRAS* voice.

"Major and Minor"
This is probably the most infectious song on the record. It's another song that everyone can relate to. Everybody has problems that fall into two categories, major and minor. Sometimes throughout a day, the chorus will just get stuck in my head, in a good way. Nice earworm of a song.

"To Find Him"
Although I don't do negative, in doing a song-by-song review, I also have to be honest. This is my least favorite track on the record. It's not that it's bad, and as I mentioned in the opening, there is not a song I skip when listening, but this one is a bit pedestrian compared to the rest of the songs. Good, but not great.

"3 Day Bender"
Another straight up rocker with an anthemic, arena-rock type sing along chorus. It's the kind of song that gets fists in the air, and while maybe not full-out headbanging, there will definitely be some aggressive head-nodding going on.

"Go Home"
This is another song with some haunting guitar with a touch of ethereal prog rock scattered in.

"Just Ride"
This a fun song. The kind you listen to cranked up with the windows down on a warm summer evening.

"Moving On"
Everybody has a story about when it's time to just move on, when it's not worth the effort anymore. That's what we get here, in a very catchy form. Very tasty guitar solo in this one from Pat. A very groovy song (and not groovy in the sense of the 70s, but groovy as in it has groove).

"I Wanna Die"
This is the most musically diverse song on the record. It starts out with hard driving drums underneath some keyboard layers and then some more tasty guitar work in the intro solo. Then it pares back and provides a solid bed for some heartfelt smoky vocals with some more lead guitar work mixed in. Like "8 AM" this my favorite type of Chaser Eight song. I guess they saved the best for the last track.

Here is "I Wanna Die" from the Chaser Eight album:

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