Progressive genres of music are widely known for their lengthy songs and heavy/complicated subject matter. In these ways, prog has always been incredibly indulgent, but what happens when you take this indulgence in the opposite direction and run with it? In this case, CHON‘s Grow happened. The songs on this album are not lengthy journeys through desolate valleys and frostbitten evenings, but rather short detours through sunshine soaked forests and warm afternoons. Rather than attempting to be a three course meal that will leave you full, CHON are more than happy to be a smoothie on a sweltering summer day that satisfies with sweetness until the very last drop.
This record is very straightforward and to the point, with no song reaching the four minute mark. However, this is not a problem by any means. These songs are packed to the gills with interesting compositions and ideas, so there is no need for the songs to extend past three minutes and some change. It also seems like the short length of the record overall gives it much more replay value as it doesn’t feel like a chore to listen to. If the songs were any longer, they might not have been as sugary sweet or satisfying as they are now.
And boy, these songs really are sugary sweet and satisfying. From the start of the glittering intro ‘Drift’ , you can tell what the mood of the entire record is going to be. These songs are the musical equivalent of a meal consisting entirely of dessert. Tracks like ‘Story’, ‘Fall’, and ‘Splash’ all have bouncy and bright riffs that are meant to plaster a dumb smile across the face of the listener; an endeavor that they are undeniably successful in. Even when the band is getting emotional on the vocal track ‘Can’t Wait’, the instrumental gives off a vibe that glistens, gleams and exudes joy. With the new compositions on this record, CHON are putting their noticeable growth on display for the world to see. Songs are no longer vessels to hold neat riff after neat riff, but rather cohesive pieces that can be appreciated from start to finish. The two best examples of this growth are the tracks ‘Book’ and ‘But’, which both feature Animals as Leaders‘ drummer Matt Garstka absolutely crushing. You don’t often see a drummer as a featured musician, but here it works out very well.
The album is not only home to new compositions, but also ones that we’ve heard before in some shape or form. ‘Knot’, ‘Suda’ and ‘Echo’ (formerly ‘Ecco’) are all pulled from the bands second EP, Woohoo!, while ‘Perfect Pillow’ was a track that had appeared in 2010 on the bands MySpace page. All of the re-recordings sound superior to their original forms, due to the wonderful mix on this album and also due to small changes in arrangement.
CHON are on the other end of the spectrum of prog’s indulgence, as they present light and sweet melodies in hyperactive, yet somehow simultaneously laid back packages. CHON do not seek to stuff you, but rather they are out to satisfy you. With Grow, it would seem that they have satisfaction down to a science.
CHON’s Grow gets…