Review by Matt Miller
Those who are fortunate enough to own a copy of the three-song Chrysalis sampler could not welcome the release of the Chrysalis EP with more enthusiasm. Allay your anxieties, Chrysalisteners, over half-molten samplers and just exchange them for eight tracks of soul stroking musical immaculacy.
With a relatively swift and tense guitar riff and soft cymbals the EP launches into the introductory track, courageously entitled “Chrysalis.” In a span of 30 seconds, the song exposes listeners to three essential elements of music: tension, release, and catchiness. With the added responsibility of introducing listeners to the band as well as the CD, the lyrics of “Chrysalis” details an amalgam of hope and depression, stress and liberation, which accompanies the music in a way that won’t alienate listeners who want a smoother transition into the intensity of the EP while maintaining all the power of following tracks.
With a forlorn electronic melody to open, “Skusashi” maintains a prolonged, soft tune that expands a little and retreats, cultivating significant tension before finally unleashing the choral release two and a half minutes into the song. Surprisingly, the electronic melody, rather than simply repeating itself, is subtly reflected and expounded through the bass guitar. The efficient use of rhythm continually appears throughout the EP.
In similar fashion, “Miscarriage” reflects the piano melody of its brief introductory track “Locked in a Dot” through guitars. However, the simple tune is only a small portion of an intricate weave of sounds found in the fourth track. The guitar riff that introduces the “Miscarriage” itself is entirely different, and is actually itself probably the most recognizable melody on the CD. Impervious to instrumentation? “Miscarriage” will also shake listeners to their core in a nuclear fusion of some of the most powerful lyrics and vocal delivery on the EP.
With the sixth track, now full-fledged Chrysalisteners will notice such poignant vocal delivery gathers the melody peacefully in the beginning until stricken by almost heavy instrumentation. “Sustainer” initially juxtaposes calm and catastrophe with respective vocals and instrumentation, later exchanging and combining responsibility over these themes to drive the mood of the song.
Perhaps the most straightforward track, “Dogs and Indians” uses lyrical means to important social personal ends. With the chorus, Why don’t you go back to wherever you’re from? “Dogs and Indians” will latch onto listener consciousness before the significance sets in, allowing the social facets of bigotry to be confronted from within rather than making a clear accusation that can be defended with layers of denial. Considering such an interpretation, it’s interesting that this song boasts the catchiest chorus on the EP.
Having conducted research of sorts, “Arcadia” attracts listener awareness differently than previous tracks in a supernova of poetic lyrics and relatively simple melodies that barely hold together at points, radiating a primal horror that can be felt as much as heard. As another facet of Chrysalis, this song refutes the structured grandeur of previous tracks with an equally effective expression of untainted energy and emotion.