These Scandinavians have created a sound that takes their love of new wave and sets it firmly in their homeland
Chain Wallet are a Bergen-based three-piece who specialise in lo-fi, psych pop. Like most bands of the genre, they paint a picture of three close-knit ‘geeks’ who love board games and the workings of analogue synths. Nothing wrong with that.
Sticking with shoe-gaze tradition, the band are eager to express depression and the resulting withdrawal from society, as band member, Frode Boris explains: “We want to capture the acute distress of an afflicted character; his self-indulgent pity (and) gradual loss of touch with reality.”
All of which is encapsulated on the song Faded Fight, with its catchy synth hook that empathises the new wave influences of the band. Yet the archetypal melody does little to perk the ears, or warn them that something new is on the cards. The band’s ambition to capture so much despair may have done them more harm than good. The song isn’t bad, it just doesn’t stand out from similar songs that have come before it.
The melodies on Muted Colours are in keeping with those on Faded Fight. However, this time the band make them pop out by layering sounds, providing a much needed boost in pace and urgency.
This self-titled debut album isn’t going to be crowned album of the year, and this year has seen some great debuts. But, after hearing the band’s ethos and ambitions you get the feeling that Chain Wallet could be a career band. One that sits on their own thrown, releasing consistently good records every two or three years.
Verdict: Possibly the start of a bright career