Chorus Grant

Space

Written by: HES on 01/10/2014 16:42:30

I started listening to “Space” by the Danish singer/songwriter “band” Chorus Grant, fronted by Kristian Finne Kristensen, already in the start of August, but the record actually struck such a personal chord with me, that I initially had to hide it away to create enough distance to be able to describe why it made me feel so much. It’s both wonderful and disturbing how some records are internalized instantaneously and others almost need instructions to understand. Reviews of albums in the first category are the hardest to write about because the experience is often subjective. I will however to the best of my abilities try to jot down why this album fares right into my bloodstream and hopefully yours as well.

Chorus Grant has been around for a while, but only just recently broke through to the mainstream with a combo of this release and the right festival bookings. And although Kristensen also has a side-project with When Saints Go Machine’s Nikolaj Vonsild under the Cancer moniker, his songwriting is easily recognized by its many oddities. The construction of most of the songs are condensed, but not simplistic; with very few means Chorus Grant manages to create an album with so many repeating elements, melodic twins and flattering convergences, that the album becomes a thing itself rather than the parts it is comprised of.

Whereas many singer/songwriter constellations use soundscapes with a light vibrance, Chorus Grant is a project that uses the bassy notes with overwhelming success. Pianos are kept in the lower tones and with that certain una corda timbre on songs such as “The Idea” and the intro for “The Sudden Rupture”, letting Kristensens voluminous tone fill the stories above of the compositional skyscraper. “O Everyone”, which has gotten its share of airplay and popular recognition, is a perfect example of the understated qualities of Kristensen’s songwriting, compositions and general awkwardness. The mood is kept dusty and slow until a brilliantly ringing guitar takes off in a few bars like a ray of sunshine peeking its head through lazy, thick drapes. The catchiness of the entire album relies more on these motifs, than a hooky chorus or catchy phrase. When you’ve heard one song from “Space” the rest of the songs greet you like an old friend because of the pinch of identity Kristensen confidently places in all of the songs.

One of the other things that makes this album strangely captivating is that is seems to have been recorded in a manner almost askew or borderline-out of tune. The song “Godplans” breaks with so many tabus on how to construct melodies, it shouldn’t make sense, but keeps with just enough dogmas to be understandable - like reading a book where the letters in every other words have been jumbled. Whereas it could easily have ended up sounding absolutely terrible and unintended, the result is instead the same thrill one gets in an amusement park’s “Funhouse” with distorted mirrors and askew floor boards. At the same time, “Space” does not in any way feel gimmicky or pretentious.

Lyrically the overall feel of the album is supported by dark strophes like “Ruffled up head, our own afterlife. You know that you made a heartbreaking sound that I doubt that'll fade. Material face mirror the trace of not having left”. Thematically the stories pertain to the melancholy of love and loss, but also contains thoughtful ramblings and absurd imagery - supporting the both very personal aspect of this album and the slightly askew foundation upon which it is build. I would literally pay money to visit the insides of the mind that created this, just like you would a Funhouse. You get the feeling that most of the contents from “Space” comes from a both assertive and self-conscious mind. And here is probably where we get back to my initial reflections - because that is exactly the dichotomy of at least my human condition, but I suspect and hope that I am not the only one.

Download: O Everyone, Sudden Rupture, Godplans, Seperate Rooms, 8 lanes
For The Fans Of: Cass McCombs, Kurt Vile, Woods
Listen: Facebook

Release date 18.08.2014
Tambourhinoceros


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