Melancholy. It’s a great word, say it to yourself. Here it’s an apt word, too, and it fits the debut proper from The Chemistry Experiment like a glove – these eleven songs are virtually brimming with it. Let’s not confuse it with depression, though – there’s too much hope, faded glamour and potent beauty here for it to be depressing.
‘The Melancholy Death Of The Chemistry Experiment’ is also one of those albums that flits so effortlessly between desolation and grandeur, not to mention a number of styles, that it’s difficult to tell whether this is simply a cohesive LP or…sat down?…a conceptual one. With the way you get the organ-fuelled proggery of ‘Glue + Paper’, the upbeat-comedown disco of ‘You’re The Prettiest Thing’ and a wealth of Pulp-inspired slow-burning sound-scapes (albeit with a more lateral narrative strung together by Steven J. Kirk’s richer-than-rich tones), you wouldn't put it past them. There’s even room for fractured beats at the tail end of ‘What Are We Good For’ and, in the form of the intriguingly-titled ‘2:30am: Killing Puffins’, the concrete ambience of ‘background-core’. Oh yes.
Granted, at times the album frustrates through its limitations, and not being able to put across fully the sound in The Chemistry Experiment's collective pregnant head. The orchestral flourish at the end of ‘Thoughts On Gravity’, for instance, sounds like it should be much bigger, and by rights should rip the listener’s jaw off through sheer power. It’s clear, though, that ‘The Melancholy Death Of…’ is most likely to be a snapshot of this band’s vast idea-pool, and hints at the likelihood that this band will create something spectacular soon enough. A shiny penny to anyone who hears a more moody, magnificent and, above all, ambitious record this year.
8Thomas Blatchford's Score