By Elise Montemayor
It’s been about seven years since Chromatics released their last full length album, Kill For Love. The band has kept their creative momentum going by working on other projects within the past few years. They have released many singles, EPs and have been featured on dreamy soundtracks for movies such as Lost River (starring Ryan Gosling) and Home (an independent French film). Not to mention that in 2017 they also worked on the soundtrack/score for the revival season of David Lynch’s .
Closer To Grey is technically their seventh album, though they’re listed with six official ones. The placeholder for that sixth spot is the mysterious and never released, Dear Tommy. Apparently Dear Tommy has been destroyed, resulting in sporadic single and EP drops over the past few years. While their fans have been awaiting Dear Tommy, they instead got the pleasant surprise that is Closer To Grey.
The surprise release happened earlier this month, and I must say that I was not only surprised, but impressed by the album. Over all, Closer To Grey has the nostalgic 80’s synth pop sound that The Chromatics are often known for. Their sound is also sometimes referred to as Italian Disco. It’s easily comparable to their 2007 album, Night Drive, with soundtrack-esque songs and a Halloween/80’s horror atmosphere.
Speaking of a horror atmosphere, let’s discuss the opening track “Sound of Silence,” Yes, this is the infamous Simon & Garfunkel “Sound of Silence” from the 1967 film, The Graduate, that we all know and love. The track starts with ominous and creepy haunted house sound effects with a ticking of an old clock going faster and faster until the ticking stops at the opening lyrics, “Hello darkness my old friend.” The mysterious keyboards and synths make the listener feel like they’re in the original Halloween or in Stephen King’s Creepshow. Their version of the timeless tune is definitely a unique approach. It’s also the creepiest (in the best way possible).
A song for getting ready with your friends before night out is “You’re No Good.” This is probably my favorite song off of the album because of how catchy it is. I automatically think of that iconic scene from Call Me By Your Name when Elio watches Oliver dance at the club. One of those “Oliver dancing to…” Twitter accounts needs to get on this track!
Anyway, back to the actual music. “You’re No Good” is a hazy ’80s dream with the layering synths that form together as one amazing medley and the sassy but understated guitar. The beat sounds like this programmed loop that just begs to be danced to on a lit up dance floor. I can really tell the band had a great time making this song by the way it radiates the feeling of confidence and power. Also, there’s this xylophone sound effect throughout the song that’s so catchy and will stay in your head all day.
Closer To Grey is not necessarily a step in a new direction with their sound, but a refreshing comeback from Kill For Love. I don’t think that every album from any artist/band needs to be something new and never done before in regards to their music style. The Chromatics are known for having a certain sound and ’80s theatrics that never get old.
The band has been around for 18 years and are still going strong with the content they release. Sticking to their creative aesthetic did well for them on this album. That in itself is, again, refreshing. There is no need for a change and that is exactly what they prove in Closer To Grey.