Trying to avoid a sophomore slump, San Diego’s CHON releases its second full length studio album Homey; an aptly titled record, written just a stone’s throw away from a beach on their coastal home of southern California.
The jazz/metal/math rock trio have obviously made full use of their writing location; delivering an album that’s full of fun jams, radiating the sun soaked, laid back vibe of a beach side writing session. But this is CHON, so it’s not that simple – this is very much 12 tracks of structure destroying, dizzyingly complex instrumentals. The band may have been in their comfort zone while writing the record, but their creative limits have very much expanded out to sea by a couple of nautical miles.
“Sleepy Tea” welcomes the listeners to the record with up-tempo drums and high pitch guitars that blend together perfectly. But just when you think you know where the album is headed, a track like ‘CHONxGoYama: Berry Streets’ comes along. Collaborating with fellow instrumentalist Go Yama, the track uncovers a slightly hip-hop vibe.
In the four collaboration tracks, ‘…Berry Streets’, ‘Nayhoo’, ‘Feel This Way’ and ‘Glitch’ the classic bouncy CHON sound remains intact, but with a touch of groove that wasn’t there before. With the collaborators ranging from RAM, to Lophille, to Giraffage to Masego, the level of sound is given a ton of depth with new styles and sounds.
This review isn’t just about the collaborations, however, this is about CHON and their unique and fantastic song creations. ‘No signal’ is a fantastic, bouncy, metal, bluesy and dance worthy track; a collection of adjectives that only a band like CHON could bring together in one sentence. ‘The Space’ is an organic and beautiful jam, while ‘Continue?’ flows in and out of peppy upbeat and trancy vibes.
‘Wave Bounce’ is a brilliant accompanying bookend to opening track, ‘Sleepy Tea’. The similar sounding tracks trade tempos, with ‘Wave Bounce’ ending the album on a fast note. A love child formed between a beachside meeting of surf rock and electronica, the track climaxes before leaving you with peaceful and tranquil coastal sounds. It’s a momentary soundscape, inviting you down to the seaside retreat from where the album was born.
With such a distinct style like this, many of the tracks could have fallen into the trap of similarity and one note flavours. Luckily that’s not the case with HOMEY. Rather than striving to be too diverse, CHON balance the familiarity of their sound with the diversity of their chosen collaborations. There’s order in this erratic chaos; something I’m sure we can all relate to.
HOMEY is out on June 16th via Sumerian.