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Chest Rockwell: Laugh & the World Laughs with You

Chest Rockwell is an adventurous band, to say the least. On its new EP, Laugh & the World Laughs with You (which follows three full length albums), the Kentucky based quintet injects eccentricity and some beautiful post-rock dynamics into fundamentally hard rock foundations. While the songwriting may not be anything special and the album is mostly forgettable, there are some truly interesting and affective passages to be found.

Formed in 2004, the group defines itself as "progressive-ish rock," which is a fair assessment. Also, the guys are clearly inspired by Greek mythology, history, and literature, as they go by the names Agamemnon (guitar/vocals), Odysseus (drums), Achilles (bass), Great Ajax (guitar), and Diomedes (keyboard/guitar). At less than half an hour long, Laugh is a quick and satisfying taste of Chest Rockwell's grand ambitions (as well as their blatant limitations).

Opener "Black Reign" recalls the thumping bass and thick riffs of classic Metallica before transforming into the staccato guitar of punk rock. The longest and most "prog rock" of the set, it eventually evolves to incorporate some emotional soundscapes and arpeggios. The track constantly shifts between its different segments, making it a track that grows on you with subsequent listens. Vocally, Agamemnon (as he likes to be called) sounds like a mixture of Danny Elfman and "Weird Al" Yankovic; initially, it's a bit strange, but overall, it gives the sound even more unique color.

"Juggernaut" is a quicker and more aggressive track, but there are still moments of softness that help balance it out. Actually, vintage 65daysofstatic comes to mind a lot while listening to Laugh. As the middle track on the album, "Hogwash" acts as an instrumental intermission, and it's full of thoughtful guitar interplay and engaging rhythms and timbres. "Ultimo Hombre" is another in-your-face track, and "Cut it in Half" concludes the EP with passion, technique, and variety.

While Laugh & the World Laughs with You is quite enjoyable as it plays, once it's over, it doesn't really leave any worthwhile memories. Also, the group uses a lot of the same sounds and styles throughout, which causes the record to feel too familiar even on the first listen. Still, it succeeds in the moment, and if you're looking for a brief excursion into biting hard rock with touches of wacky metal and prog, well, this will suffice.

Track Listing
1. Black Reign
2. Juggernaut
3. Hogwash
4. Ultimo Hombre
5. Cut it in Half

Added: December 29th 2011
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: More Information
Hits: 1904
Language: english

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