Chapters- Wife

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, September 4, 2008

In recent years, the relatively obscure dark wave genre has become slightly more mainstream due to a number of indie rock bands incorporating common elements of that style into their music. We’ve seen it from She Wants Revenge, among others, and now St. Louis based Chapters is looking to enter the fray as well with their debut EP Wife. Mixing electronics into a traditional indie rock base, the band still has some work to do as far as energy goes but certainly has some interesting ideas.

The instrumentals sound like a mix of Interpol style indie rock with some dark wave dance beats/electronics thrown in. In addition to this, tracks such as “Critical End” even add a bit of shoegaze elements thanks to their spacey electronic elements. However, this emphasis on spacey electronic interludes may actually be one of the first major issues Chapters will be facing. Other songs on this EP seem to be hinting at a more aggressive tone and when they dive into experimental melodies the group just isn’t as interesting. For a full length Chapters could go either direction, but if they do choose to become more melodic they will have to find a way to hook listeners.

Though the instrumentals are a mixed bag, Chapters is likely to stand out thanks to the versatility of singer Vincent Marks. Marks is able to alternate between melodic indie rock singing and near screamed pitches that help add intensity to the group’s music. It should be mentioned that this is far from hardcore screaming though, and is instead similar to rock where the vocalist bursts into intense passages before calming down into melodic pitches. If the band can continue to utilize the fact that Marks has two distinctive styles to work with, they could definitely stand out from the other dark wave/indie rock combination groups out there.

Wife showcases some interesting ideas, but Chapters hasn’t quite nailed the mellower tracks quite yet. When this EP hits hard it is sure to hook the listener, but when it wanders towards shoe gazer territory the instrumentalists need to figure out how to maintain that level of energy and catchiness. There is still hope yet for this band, and no matter what direction they choose to take their music Chapters could reach the level of their peers further down the road.

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