It pays for a band to be ambitious; whether this ambition is to come anywhere close to making a living off the music they’ve written, or to sell lots of records and become superstars, is irrelevant. Once a band have mapped things out for themselves, they can do everything possible to try and make it work, and often meet with a certain degree of success most places. In Ireland, however, it is notoriously difficult to make it, and particularly so if you are a newly established band. Over here, radio only gives a fraction of their time to homegrown talent.
I could go on, believe me, but the point I’m trying to make is that it took The Chakras a few years to realise they weren’t going to get anywhere in Ireland. Sure, support slots with up-and-coming bands and even some established ones helped to boost their profile, but there came a time last year when they realised they’d have to look elsewhere for a springboard. Cue a move to London; within six months of this they had been signed. The result of all this work is ‘Build Me A Swan’, which has been a number of years in the making and is well worth the wait.
The album has its own special kind of atmosphere, and creates a world into which it strives to invite the listener. The hooks the band create are potent and powerful, even when they’re reining themselves in on songs like ‘Slowdive’ and ‘Nothing is Forgotten’. It is when they make sure to keep things up-tempo that the band truly excel, however. There are no shortage of those moments on this record; whether it be the cinematic opener ‘Movement’, the soaring title-track, the aptly-named ‘Beautiful Sorrow’ or the band’s calling-card ‘We the People’, they manage not to put a foot wrong anywhere.
There are times on ‘Build Me A Swan’ where the band shift up yet another gear, and the blistering wall of sound conjured up on ‘Dark Horizon’ opens up a whole host of possibilities for where they could go next. At the other end of the scale, there is the token ballad ‘Blinded’, but even this comes with a life-affirming chorus and a melody that will stick in the listener’s head for days. The album closer ‘End: Beginnings’ has another appropriate title. It may have taken them a while to get their feet off the ground, but with a set of songs this strong, there’s no doubt that The Chakras are only just getting warmed up.