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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Chelsea's Corner
When They Gain They Fall (Cassette Tape)

The Shmat listened to this cassette tape by Chelsea's Corner with interest. On a straight cursory listen, When They Gain They Fall sounds like a throwback to 80s excesses, where hair metal and bandanas earned the big bucks on stage. You know, Skid Row, Warrant, etc. But wait... though the feel of the songs sometimes reminded the Shmat of that era, songs like "Directed Touring" and "Motion State" sound more like the sweeping vocals of Idaho crossed with the toasty crunchies of Teenage Fanclub or The Posies. Maybe a bit of the poppier Sebadoh and Superchunk stuff thrown into the mix there for good measure. There's certainly no shortage of smashing drums and angsty, slightly over-the-top emo vocals. But running through the tape again, the Shmat actually started to get into it more. Call him nostalgic, but perhaps he's been listening to too much country and folk lately so his ears needed a little break. The track "Supertransformation" screams into view with earsplitting guitar solos near the end. Along with pounding drums and bass that refuse to let up, this particular sound really rocked the Shmat's socks off.

The plaintive "I'm the Million Dollar Man" slows things down a bit nicely before the band launches into "Indie Kills" which could have easily been a top 40 hit in the mid-grunge age. Get yer overwashed flannel out again! Just kidding. The B-side of the tape plays out similarly to the first. One or two songs (the Shmat can't remember the titles, maybe "Stacy" and "Epilogue"?) are actually very much like something Idaho's Jeff Martin might have penned. This is very good semi-slow gaze rock and though it is not hampered at all by the fact that was released in the new millenium instead of in the 90s, if you are looking for really new found sounds you probably wouldn't like this casette too much.

The Shmat had a bit of trouble looking up the band on the web (the website listed in the cassette insert seems not to work currently), and he's not even sure if they exist anymore. But they appear to be from Sweden, and if you want more info on the band you can always email the friendly Best Kept Secret label on which this tape was released.

- review by SHMAT (2.19.04)        

Best Kept Secret
c/o Alessandro Crestani
Via Biron di Sotto, 101
36100 Vicenza, Italy

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