by Olivier La Roche
It’s very likely that you’ll begin to question if this album is a new release or a record of the past on your first listen. With its clean, dreamy strumming of 12-string guitars, there is an unmistakable jangle pop quality to Chime School’s self-titled debut.
The newest musical endeavour of Andy Pastalaniec draws inspiration from several decades, as he explains himself in an exclusive for the album’s release: “I was obsessed with the 60s jangle…It took discovering the 80s-does-the-60s indie pop stuff to turn me onto the idea that I could create something myself that drew from those influences.” This album is just that.
A modern take on this mixture of 80s and 60s sounds, Chime School is packed with every classic quality expected from such a blend, from the steady pop-rock drums of “Get a Bike” to the driven bass groove of “Anywhere But Here”. The electronic drums of “Dead Saturdays” add the modern feel while preserving the carefree, head-bobbing energy so emblematic of jangle pop. Both jolly and determined, the record spectacularly grasps the essence of acts like The Byrds in the 60s and The Soft Boys in the 80s.
The songwriting summons themes of romance, wonder and longing, with straightforward but effective lines like “I don’t care for no one but I guess sometimes it’s you” on “It’s True”. The peppy energy of the song perfectly mirrors the smiley lyrics. On “Wait Your Turn”, there is melancholy, longing for better days, with the line “Staring up into the sky; Waiting for the sun to shine; Winter’s cold all of the time”.
A uniform, consistent record, it can be thrown on in the background and will have you tapping your foot, or with a more attentive listen can make you imagine heartwarming scenarios straight out of an 80s feel-good movie. Like any feel-good movie or music should, it will make you look nostalgically at your past, foolishly romanticize your present and anxiously anticipate your future like nothing else.