Album Review: The Chairman Dances – Time Without Measure

the chairman dancesThe Chairman Dances – Time Without Measure

Alternative | Folk | Indie Rock

66%

Really, what we are all looking for is something unique. Musically speaking that’s becoming increasingly more difficult, everything that is worth doing has just about already been done, but there are vast unspoilt lyrical landscapes still to explore. The latest album from this Philadelphia band revolves around the lives of 10 activists who faced retribution for their pursuit of progress. This concept then takes a turn; rather than some biographical tale of events, each track instead stands in their shoes and expresses what they must be feeling about their respective predicaments. Granted, the ideas at work here could be better executed, but there’s no denying that it’s a noble and ambitious concept, and unlike anything else I’ve come across.

It’s not all about the lyrics, the music is delightfully eclectic. Imagine a collaboration between Beck and the Mountain Goats and you’re in the right area. ‘Kitty Ferguson’ features some hints of brass and brief but memorable drum fills, ‘Augustine’ boasts some great fuzzy guitar work and the ethereal ‘Therese’ creates a gorgeously mellow soundscape. Sadly however this album’s greatest innovation is also its fatal flaw. Most, if not all, of the narrative of the album is sure to be lost on casual listeners. There are plenty of great music moments here, especially for fans of Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver and the like, but the bigger picture will go over most people’s heads, or require a bit of research on these political figures to fully appreciate. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but The Chairman Dances have taken a chance, tried something new and have stuck to their guns, which I applaud them for doing so.

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