Have a listen to: 'Story', 'Fall' and 'Can't Wait'
CHON – Grow
Made from an acronym of the four elements that make up all living things – carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. From San Diego, CA, this progressive four piece features members Mario Camarena on guitar, Erick Hansel on guitar, Drew Pelisekon bass and Nathan Camarena on drums. After heavy and extensive touring, it seems like CHON are finally making a name for themselves, and boy am I glad they have.
‘Grow‘ is the bands first LP, containing 12 tracks and 35 minutes of play. The LP opens with a gentle intro song lasting just under 40 seconds entitled ‘Drift‘ which sets a beautiful tone and mood for the next song to follow and the first single from the record – ‘Story‘. This is another gorgeous instrumental piece with heavily jazz influenced verses heading into a chorus where the guitars overlap each other in perfect unison. With phrases full of vocal-like melody, you can’t help but wonder if throwing in vocals on a track like this would just completely de-rail it.
The next song ‘Fall‘ has a fairly more assertive approach and intro, with sharp chords and a loud snare dominating the first 30 seconds, they lead us into another wonderfully elegant chorus. Halfway through the tracks, the drums take the lead and completely change the dynamic and vibe with a straight drum beat, where the instruments change to a more trance like guitar tones.
The next song, ‘Book‘ is really showing off their tight rhythm section. What Drew is playing on the bass is simple and understated, yet complex and intricate. Similar guitar work to the other tracks, with lots of phrases and overlapping chords, lasting 02:42 seconds, this could be my favourite song on the record just because of these instruments alone.
‘Can’t wait‘ has a more traditional jazz/pop approach, and is also the first song on the record to feature vocals from bass player Drew Pelisekon. He adds another layer of musical talent to this already sterling album, and there is a really nice pace to this track that doesn’t try to throw you in any unexpected directions; definitely one of my favourites from the record.
‘Suda‘ is built off of scatty, erratic guitar riffs and odd time signatures, but is still audibly pleasing unlike some other bands with this approach to songwriting, which I can sometimes find to be irritating. There is something about the soft clean tones on this record where I just constantly think to myself “these guys can do no wrong, here”.
Other standout tracks include ‘Moon‘, a 01:21” guitar piece that you can just zone out and space out to; it’s a shame it’s over before it starts, but the dynamic changes once again with ‘Splash‘ leading you through another flurry of frenetic guitar and drums parts. ‘Echo‘ is the eleventh track on the record, but only the second to feature vocals. Similar to ‘Can’t Wait‘ this track features simple yet effective vocals from Drew once again. Nothing too mind-blowing yet it serves it’s purpose. I think if the band were to shift their focus on their next musical endeavour to feature more vocals, Drew’s voice will be a good fit. For me though, this band is at their catchiest when they are playing instrumental tracks.
For a band I had never heard of until a strange Tuesday afternoon, this LP could fast become one of my favourite records of 2015. So if you’re looking for a change of pace and looking to add some colour and sunshine to your early Spring album cycle, do yourselves a favour and check out CHON.