Burn Your Town
The Chapman Family are finally releasing an album. It's been more than three years since Teesside's doom-pop noise makers first garnered attention in high profile publications like the NME and Art Rocker, and with such a long gestation it would seem that the band were in the unusual position of producing their difficult debut album. It's always a fear that fans might have given up in the meantime but the band have kept their feet in the water by releasing a steady stream of impressive singles and treating dingy venues to aural assaults on regular national tours. The album opens with "A Certain Degree", a relatively subdued tune in which Pop Chapman's bass plays the role of a baritone backing vocalist, it's not until the end of "All Fall" that we get the band's trademark "anger". Kingsley Chapman's vitriol has been a point of contention for many critics but here it comes across as a battle-cry which seems far more genuine than that of their contemporaries. "Sound of the Radio" is much subtler than the song which the band have been playing live for the past few years and it's for the better as it gives a platform to Kingsley's bittersweet vocal. The tactic is reversed on "1000 Lies" and the instrumentation comes center-stage, particularly Phil Chapman (AKA Animal from the Muppets) who performs a textbook "slow, but fast" drum beat as the rest of the band make a controlled racket. Things don't quite work so nicely on "She Didn't Know" which just gets a bit boring after a while, the only major mis-step on an impressive record. It's quite rare for a band who've only just released their debut to have "oldies" in their catalogue but The Chapman Family do, and they save them for the finale. The crowd pleasing triple whammy of "Kids", "A Million Dollars" and "Virgins" still sound amazing despite being tweaked quite heavily in places. "Kids" is presented here as a much faster nosier affair than on previous recordings, in keeping with the album's general aura and "Virgins" is almost unrecognisable from the 2009 single version, like it's been dismantled and put back together by an eccentric toddler. If you want to hear The Chapman Family's singles collection get yourself on Spotify, if not then this might just be the record for you.