CHALK - "Conditions" EP Review

Belfast based trio Chalk recently released their first EP "Conditions".

This new act offers an uncompromising vision and profoundly dark anthems crafted in modern poetry and pulsating sounds. Their unmistakable style is a trademark of post punk, electronic, techno, and utmost originality.

Set in apocalyptic atmospheres, their tracks are reminiscent of 90s nostalgia but also mirror their path to cathartic self-discovery.

The daunting and repetitive rhythmic lines are a common denominator to every track in this EP. Their music formula is brought to life by progressive crescendos achieved through spiralling repetition. The band seems to use this building tension in order to explore visceral and emotional subjects. 

This sonic makeup is evident from the very first track "Asking" which is devastating and distorted post-punk at its finest. It is also testimony to how this music current is landing closer and closer to modern poetry. With other bands like Vlure, The Murder Capital, Fontaines D.C. and Opus Kink, this more experimental post-punk movement is rapidly growing and cementing its roots across the UK.

The second track "Static" is pure energy loudly resonating in your ribcage, a desperate hymn to the unspoken in each of us. Powered by crude lyrics and and warped guitar sounds, this is a work that stylistically captures a dark landscape of influences: noisy prog rock, dirty garage, and hardcore.

"Them" is another very similar track. The rhythm section is central here, followed by some of their most powerful and controversial lyrics "Put your face on, put your face on and laugh your way out of it". The techno element dominates the raw choruses and showcases their connection to the dance/electronic scene.

In "Velodrome", we experience this techno/hardcore element to its full extent. This track is the final explosion, a sonic and emotional culmination of their intent. Dominated by dynamic and strenuous drumming and the best vocal performance by singer and front-man Ross Cullen, this is a song that leaves you no escape route. The lyrics at the end almost mirror a mental breakdown while violently taking you to the last track.

"Conditions" embodies the highest point of the EP for me. This is the most structurally complete track, the most intellectually accomplished, and the most artistically challenging. It embodies sharp contrasts: a drop of hope in a cynical storm. It's a daunting ritual of self-acclamation spoken in harsh words. It's giving up on the world but not giving up on yourself. The rhythmic line in this track is the skeleton supporting the body. It also allows the song to develop as a crescendo by being the centre stage to some of the best lyrics in this EP.

" You don't know me like I do", seems the most suitable closing sentence for one of the greatest EPS this year. It truly embodies the emotional components and spirit of this album and generation.




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