June 10, 2010


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Chemical Distance, The Pain & The Progress
Bluntface Records, March 31
With New Hampshire’s cultural state being the way it is, Manchester-based soundsystem Chemical Distance are in the unenviable position of having to explain what they are in their bio, namely three guys with tech gear and no drummer. They’re stubbornly Gen Y in that they put their most vulnerable foot forward at album open — “The Pain” has a geeky Weird Al vocal sound that’s way too loud in the mix if you want to get pedantic, but if we get pedantic we have to blame this on the engineer (they did this in a studio and not a bedroom, from what I’m gleaning), who never should have let “Old Man” out the door without getting it to sound more like Electric Six. They’re into The Prodigy and do have some truly great moments in that mode, and with a little imagination one can picture “Sugar” as a demo from Isis experimenting with a turntablist…

Drat it all, there’s that look from you again. I’ll put it simply: their strength, and what they might pursue, is their ability to fit Metallica/Marilyn Manson pegs into drum-n-bass and techno holes. That’d be something, sure, and meanwhile there’s enough stompage buried in the tracklist to get them signed, absolutely. BEric W. Saeger