Album Review

Chappaqua Wrestling - Plus Ultra

There’s a perfectly fine indie-rock record here, if only it were a little less obfuscated by an aim it doesn’t quite achieve.

Chappaqua Wrestling - Plus Ultra
Chappaqua Wrestling may be keen to underplay their Manchester beginnings, not being natives of the city, but there’s a lot about ‘Plus Ultra’ that owes its sound to - if not solely the city itself - easily the North West as a whole. Opener ‘Full Round Table’ begins in a flurry of post-punk despair adjacent to Echo and the Bunnymen, basslines lower than Peter Hook’s strap accompanying a similarly bleak lyrical turn: “The penny drops / And it falls down the drain.” And while this musical line doesn’t continue throughout the outfit’s debut - we reach twee indie-pop come ‘Not In Love’, while as early on as second number ‘Wayfinding’, layers of shoegazey fuzz can’t hide a pure late-noughties-esque Big Chorus - it is at once a record which simultaneously nods to the early-90s and could never have existed pre-Oasis. Its basslines are dark, lumbering and ominous, while its guitar solos are pure Britpop. Its apparent socially-conscious themes are lost amid indie’s equivalent to classic rock: “I’m never gonna be there for the cause,” sings Charlie Woods in twinkly, sentimental closer ‘Can I Trick’: what cause he’s ducking out of is never quite clear. ‘Need You No More’ is pure ‘80s driving song until it crashes into an early Fontaines DC-like sea of tambourines, ‘Wide Asleep’ is a sea of suitably awkwardly-placed ad-libs (“Wipe out your present / Then your future’s fine… yeah”), and there’s the spirit of a fourth Gallagher brother in the elongated enunciation of ‘Opaque’. There’s a perfectly fine indie-rock record here, if only it were a little less obfuscated by an aim it doesn’t quite achieve.

Tags: Chappaqua Wrestling, Reviews, Album Reviews

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