Chaser

Dreamers

Written by: PP on 18/04/2021 12:31:06

Chaser has in short order improved from a mediocre skate punk band to a hype machine. Their early output between 2000-2010 was typical of that by a local scene band: so close but no cigar. That all changed on "Sound The Sirens" three years ago, where the band finally cracked the songwriting formula and produced eleven melodic skate punk bangers in a row for one of the most overlooked albums in the genre that year (this magazine included). The result? Just look at any punk-related group on Facebook or other for discussions about exciting bands the genre has to offer right now and Chaser is virtually guaranteed to be mentioned in them.

So does "Dreamers", their fifth album overall, deliver on the hype? As usual, the answer is a double-edged sword. You can criticize the record for slavishly following the genre playbook one checkmark at a time, for not daring (or willing?) to push the melodic skate punk envelope. Yet this aspect is simultaneously its very strength. It's essentially a playthrough of sounds and influence from the hardcore-tinged Good Riddance (see "Fight Of Our Lives", "2020"), the melodicore godhood of No Use For A Name with a few NOFX-esque bass lines thrown in ("Good Times"), with nods towards the technical flair of bands like Mute or A Wilhelm Scream (see "Signs Of Life").

So while the record isn't exactly innovative in its genre, it delivers the melodies and hooks exactly in the requested form by its fans. Songs like "Dreamers" and "Break The Chain" are infectiously catchy, upbeat, and pop-punkish, but always delivered with tight guitars, polished production, and a breakneck speed tempo that never lets go of the gas pedal. And that is all that's needed to write a solid album because the line between generic skate punk and quality songwriting might be razor-thing but we're on the right side by leaps and bounds here.

"Dreamers" might source its influence from bands like Millencolin, NOFX, Good Riddance, NUFAN, This Is A Standoff, Belvedere, F.O.D, No Fun At All, and many others throughout the record, but it does so gracefully and without sounding derivative. A great example, arguably the culmination of the entire record, is the closing song "See You At The Show". It's a brilliant finish that effectively merges lyrical and melody segments from NOFX's "The Longest Line", Lifetime's "25 Cent Giraffes", Green Day's "Basket Case", The Bouncing Souls' "True Believers", and Face To Face (there may be others I didn't find) in what becomes a tribute to punk rock of sorts. I mean it could even be a theme song to Groezrock as it stands:

"Where do we go when Bad Religion calls it a day? Then two years after that when NOFX will do the same? What will become of this scene that is our life?

[...]

With all the bands that we looked up to, the ones you can’t replace.

Who will remain when the curtains finally close

Where we had the best of times at festivals and shows?

[...]

Well I don’t know if punk rock is enough to change the world

But I’ll do all I can with melody and these four chords

And this one is a tribute with a message from the heart

Here’s to all the bands that made us who we are

This is our life. We’re true believers. It’s our badge of pride

And it’s good to know that we have friends around the world with whom we share

Ideals and values, and we’re all aware

That we are one united scene, we are family

But do you have the time to listen to the up and comers

The local bands that will remain, beating the pulse of this genre?

In the longest line, we’re waiting for our chance to make it

And do our part to keep the scene."

Do yourself a favor and give the song a listen, if it doesn't give you back-chills as a punk rock fan, there's something wrong with you.

Overall, "Dreamers" is arguably the best record written by Chaser so far. They're maturing into skate punk stalwarts like fine wine, twenty years into their career, delivering 13 tracks and almost 40-minutes worth of tight, infectiously catchy output in what feels like a breakthrough.

8

Download: See You At The Show, Good Times, Signs Of Life, Dreamers
For the fans of: No Use For A Name, Good Riddance, NOFX, F.O.D, Millencolin
Listen: Facebook

Release date 09.04.2021
Thousand Islands Records / Sound Speed Records / SBÄM Records / Pee Records

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