The Chantey Hook - Underground [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Chantey Hook

Underground [7-inch] (2014)

Razorcake Records / ADD Recor

It's quite unusual these days for a band to release a 7" single with only two songs on. However, I'm of an age when I fondly remember the days of grabbing a 7" and not expecting anything other than two songs. Hell, three was consider exciting and four was something exotic, and when these began being called EPs (‘extended play' for anyone unaware of what that stands for) I always felt I was getting a huge bonus. Therefore, I'm very much behind Chantey Hook's latest release which follows the two track format of my youth if only because it reminds me of a simpler time.

It might only be two tracks but there is still close to eight minutes worth of action to be heard, which is a good return for your hard earned money in my book. What also helps any such transaction is that the music one receives is rather good indeed.

Lead track "Underground" opens with a beautifully mellow guitar introduction joined by Seth Swaaley's vocals in which I initially hear a Bruce Springsteen quality before they take on a hint of Frankie Stubbs (Leatherface) and then finally settling on their own distinctive sound. The mellowness lasts all of 51 seconds before the track kicks open doors and bursts into life with the urgency of a sprinter coming out of the blocks. The momentum that's wound up in that intro, waiting to be unleashed, allows my anticipation levels to be pushed to their limits, just like waiting for a wave to crash over you on the edge of the ocean – you know it's coming and you really want it too, and that moment when it strikes provides an overwhelming sense of pleasure. With "Underground" that bliss lasts for about three minutes as the track drives itself along at a fair clip, blurring the lines between melodic punk and rock'n'roll as it goes and leaving a warm afterglow for me to bask in when it comes to an end. A damn fine tune, of this there can be no doubt.

The flipside, "Blue Collar", eschews the lengthy set up found on the title track making use of only a seven second drum intro before spewing forth a torrent of melodic goodness highlighting a tight performance that manages to come across as relatively loose at the same time – a masterstroke. This song has more of a punch than its predecessor, creating a nice variation on the record, yet there is no loss in the quality of output.

My previous encounter with The Chantey Hook was one that left me unmoved but this record has ignited a passion for the band that I never knew could have existed in me and they've done it without fuss or frills; it's all down to them having written a couple of songs that have a sense of depth to them as well as being perfectly executed. It's just guitar, bass and drums with some vocals – who needs anything else–

Why would anyone want to buy a two track 7" these days when so many people are after more for less– That's a good question and I have an answer for you: because in this specific case the two tracks are of exceptional quality and demand to be heard. This is one of the best singles of the year and soon you'll all be singing ‘we are, we are, we are, we are, we're all underground'.