With each new release, Austin’s Chronophage leap handily over their previous efforts, putting so much distance between them that it hardly feels like the same band. Their debut was a fuzz-pocked four track burner that left a mark. Their last album found them embracing some pop moments, but a post-punk warble that was stuck somewhere between New Zealand and the UK had a tight hold on the gear shift. This time, there are still shadows of that scene, but with a polished approach and an appreciation for new wave and synth-pop, the record is their most expansive yet. Tension pulls at the core of their eponymous third entry, a darkness that fizzes like a neon beacon from across the highway. The keys are at the forefront this time around, weaving through the inked guitars and tumble of drums. They’ll slice at 4AD furrows and then slide right into a Flying Nun crunch of guitar debris.
Finding the common ground between Cure fans, Toy Love legions, and Strawberry Switchblade swarms isn’t always an easy fit, but Chronophage seem to make it work. More than that, they make it seem effortless. The record is endlessly captivating, lathered with a grandness, a bubbling over that washes into the speaker cabinets and out into the room. The band has always maintained too low a profile, left to the kind of record obsessives that haunt the bins with a fevered need for sounds, but this record has the kind of appeal that should pull them out into the light. While it could have found a home on any of the major indies, Dean Spunt’s PPM brings this one to the masses and I’m hoping that the masses embrace the turbulence, pomp, and release that the band rains down on this S/T gem.
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