"This record took me by storm. It’s the perfect soundtrack for those lone nights where so many thoughts could run through your head. Don’t Think About Death is the perfect partner to reflect, to think and to leave past mistakes behind"
The musical landscape around 2010 was shaped by a bunch of hardcore bands that weren’t so much hard in the musical sense but more in an emotional way. La Dispute, Piano Become The Teeth, Defeater and the likes were all the rage back then. Telecaster and Jazzmaster guitars, half sung/screamed vocals and an overall super organic sound were basically everywhere. In the last couple years this sound moved from being super fresh to be pretty niche. A couple of bands uphold this aesthetic to this day, and Chalk Hands from Brighton, UK are probably one of the most interesting and promising bands in that vein. Their Instagram bio even says "Loud sad songs", and this is probably the most accurate description anyone can give about them.
Their new record Don’t Think About Death has been released on March 18th of this year and has been recorded and mixed by Lewis Johns (The man that records basically everything that has quality in the UK )
First of all, the production is superb, but I didn’t expect anything else from Lewis. Everything is clear, the drums pack an immense punch while also sounding super roomy, and those crunchy guitars omit a lot of warmth. Everything is exactly where it should be in the mix. This is just not studio trickery, and it’s heavily underlined by the live in-studio performance that Chalk Hands uploaded to their socials recently. This is a band which has honed their craft and know exactly what they want to achieve. It’s all very impressive!
It is super hard to pick out one specific song, which is not a bad thing. This record feels like it should be enjoyed in one go. The atmosphere and the choice of chord progressions is really touching overall, and when these guys turn on their reverb and delay pedals, they make every post-rock band run for their money. This is what Piano Become The Teeth could have sounded like if they didn’t stray into the rock domain, leaving their screaming vocals behind.
The immediacy of the singer is also what reeled me in over and over again. The desperation is almost touchable, and you can feel every word. Is this something super unique? Nope! Is it still good to hear it being executed in such a fulfilling and absorbing way? Absolutely. Sure, we have heard tons of bands going for this exact sound, but there are also tons of them out there who just feel fake and not real. Contrary to that, this record feels very honest and very real, and I couldn’t care less that this not the most original band on the planet. As long as it is as captivating and well-made as this piece of music is, I’m all in.
This record took me by storm. It’s the perfect soundtrack for those lone nights where so many thoughts could run through your head. Don’t Think About Death is the perfect partner to reflect, to think and to leave past mistakes behind. I know I tend to repeat this in every review, but I highly recommend checking Chalk Hands out and let them ebb and flow into your life. Their vinyl is sadly already sold out, but a very cool tape version is still available on their Bandcamp page.