Review of Burn Your Town Album by The Chapman Family

Following their superb October-released single, 'All Fall', Stockton-On-Tees quartet The Chapman Family continue to prove their arena-filling potential through their debut full length album. Further emphasising their raucous energy and determination, the swaggering forceful confidence of Burn Your Town suggests that The Chapman Family will be around much longer than their current tour partnership with The Joy Formidable.

From the start, sounding resemblance to the likes of Editors and Maximo Park, Kingsley Chapman's strong, clear vocals sound confidently over the menacing harmonies that ooze from their finely constructed patchwork of echoing guitars and synths. A feeling of creeping suspense punctuated by the metallic bite of the glockenspiel builds throughout opening track 'A Certain Degree', before The Chapman Family crash into their recent single, 'All Fall', which drives forward with pounding drums and guitars into a big chorus. The consistency of the bands' established energetic, post-punk Editors-meets-Placebo-meets-Interpol blend continues through the guitar riff-led 'Anxiety, which echoes the determination and charge of Boy Kill Boy; the words 'they say your best isn't good enough' sounding bitterly throughout. The powerful guitar and pounding drum-led 'Sound Of The Radio' builds, fades then builds with precise strength and determination akin to many of their contemporary counterparts. '1000 Lies' sounds like something from White Lies' To Lose My Life with thundering drums and distorted guitar noise building to not something towards the atmospheric post-rock brilliance of iLiKETRAiNS.

The Chapman Family Burn Your Town Album

At times, however, The Chapman Family occasionally get caught up in self-indulgent post-rock distortion and drift away from strong, well-structured songwriting; five or six tracks in is when their superb consistency begins to wobble. 'She Didn't Know' starts thin and calm and then suddenly kicks in with screaming and forceful distorted guitars and aggressive drums. The track psychotically drops in and out before eventually fading to nothingness, followed by more pungent, distorted, rock aggression in 'Something I Can't Get Out' and 'Kids'. Whilst the variety is refreshing and glimpses a heavier grunge-punk feel, the aggression and frustration felt through the psychotic, distortion-ridden punk segments feels like the band are just satisfying their inner Nirvana-loving teenage boy, resulting in a noisy, immature sound. By the time 'Million Dollars' arrives, however, busy drums and rhythmic, angular guitars a la early-Bloc Party are sounding clear, returning to their previously established fine form.

A swaggering, confident, determined blend that maturely and energetically combines and refines a whole host of big-selling influences, Burn Your town is a strong debut, fully loaded with potential. Bring on the tour.

Hannah Spencer

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