It’s fitting that a band that calls Minneapolis home would crash through these four songs with the slow, steady and deliberate power of a nuclear-powered icebreaking vessel, piloted with stern resolve, crashing and driving forward effortlessly, affording little hope of survival to anything unfortunate enough to be trapped beneath its massive weight.
But this is no simple search and destroy mission – Chatham Rise do their damage while still being propelled by nuance, subtlety and the appropriate use of twenty- thousand leagues of amplification.
The journey begins with the appropriately named “Tranquilized,” a hazy, slow-motion organ joining hand-in-hand with a sonically-sedated vocal approach that seems itself buried under blankets of sound, the melodies laser-guided and able to escape only by bending around the corners. Sufficiently numbed from that initial tranquilizing dart, you’ll be forgiven for believing its follow-up (“Fall In”) takes you away from the icy depths altogether and instead goes far, far into the stratosphere.
“Autopilot” comes next, its title and anchoring, impenetrable bass making it tempting to believe the band has given control over to forces beyond their control – how else to explain to its hazy, heavenly sound?
The beginning of the end is the “Hollow” that follows, the atmosphere here almost mistakable for the funereal, save for the bright lights that swing from the guitar strings throughout the chorus. More impressive is when the realization sets in that “Hollow” is more of a rebirth than a death, returning the listener to the tranquilized state that “No One” put forth some twenty minutes prior. Slow ride? Sure. Take it easy? Not a chance. “No One,” here, gets out alive.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” – C.S. Lewis, “The Four Loves”