CHASER EIGHT

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Chaser Eight is a five-piece rock band from New Haven, Connecticut that released their third EP “At the 426” in October of 2013. The band has headlined sold-out shows in Connecticut and New York and recently made their television debut, performing two songs on Connecticut’s WTNH Style Stage 8. Enjoy our review of “At the 426” below.

‘Never Enough’ opens “At the 426” with somewhat of an 80’s vibe, featuring electronic sounds played by the keyboard and unique guitar and bass parts. The drums were performed beautifully, and also sounded very good tone-wise. The female vocals were strong, backed by lots of different instrumentation. The song has a poppy, bouncy chorus and overall pulsating, bouncing feel. It was produced well, the song’s structure thought-out and intelligent, especially the changes that come about in the bridge. Everything is broken down to showcase the vocals (in the bridge), the band’s sound building back up to the final chorus, completing the track with a feel-good rhythm. ‘One Love’ follows with a raw-sounding acoustic guitar in the introduction; the female vocal performance is excellent, and the vocals are mixed and placed well within the song. The running bass plays out over some interesting, more dissonant chord progressions supported by male backing vocals. This track seems to have a bit of an identity crisis, having trouble making up its mind between an optimistic, major sound or a haunting, minor sound. The lead guitar part towards the track’s close in the bridge was outstanding, and leads nicely into ‘Heart to Heart’. ‘Heart to Heart’ opens with male lead vocals in the first verse and features a good performance from the acoustic guitar. Female backing vocals enter shortly thereafter, adding lots of depth and feel, until ultimately many different voices join in the chorus. This story line was easier to follow than some of the previous tracks and contained a memorable acoustic guitar melody. The second verse was led by emotive female vocals and backed by male vocals, the roles being reversed here from the first verse. A large amount of supporting instrumentation is present in this track, and the chorus featured great lyrics. The guitar tone here is excellent, taking a commanding leading role throughout the final chorus. Drums, an acoustic guitar, and both male and female vocal parts close the song, capping a solid ending to a solid song. 

‘Run, Run’ has a grungier, more aggressive guitar tone than past offerings; the electric guitar work is good and the track is full of interesting sounds. I would have liked to hear a more intricate, complex solo to showcase the guitarist’s technicality and playability, though. The highlight of the song is the mood and feel that is created after the solo and before the final chorus. ‘Without Love’ closes the EP with a drastically different feel; the drums are coupled with unique synth and electronic sounds, and the first verse is very electronic-influenced. The song changes sound and mood from haunting, low-end focused to more flowing, acoustic guitar at different points, and again lots of different instrumentation is present throughout. The synth tones are stellar and were very appreciated; there are lots of really cool things going on within the song, including oscillating sounds reminiscent of those found in dubstep, possibly created by a wah pedal running through a bass and amplifier. These changes definitely added new aspects to the song, as well as a new sense of intrigue that may have been lost without it. If not for anything else, this track showcased their diversity and ability to step out and take a risk in a genre that isn’t necessarily their primary one. The album was a nice look into Chaser Eight’s sound and musical capabilities, although there were certain points that could be addressed for the benefit of the band moving forward: in ‘One Love’, the female backing vocals could have been stronger; they seem very weak and haphazardly thrown in. Also, some of the bass runs don’t work with the instrumentation, and some notes between the different instruments are clashing (this seems to be the case in the following two tracks as well). All the instruments could be more in sync with each other overall (especially in the bridge). There’s lots of dissonance, and while that’s not a bad thing, all the notes should be doing the same thing in order for this to work. Really, the bass notes on ‘Heart to Heart’ and ‘Run, Run’ could use more work from a structural and production aspect. Most of these issues could have been resolved on the spot if outside input had been consulted via an associate producer or someone else who could have provided an unbiased opinion; I’d be interested to hear what Chaser Eight could come up with in studio, working with engineers and producers, allowing them to focus solely on the music they write and perform. This move would relieve them of all engineering and production duties, while bringing another ear, one with most likely lots of experience, into the mix (literally and figuratively). Again, Chaser Eight did some excellent things with “At the 426”, an album which features some outstanding offerings and showcases the group’s positive direction; be sure check out album highlights ‘Heart to Heart’ and ‘Without Love’, and enjoy our interview with the band below. 

Could you give us a bit of insight into the band’s background? What is the music scene like in your hometown of New Haven, Connecticut?

“*AUDRA* and I started playing together around 1996 when we were both 10 years old. Our bassist Bill joined us when we were young teenagers and we have been playing together ever since in various iterations. Chaser Eight as an entity was officially formed in 2012 with Pete joining that year. Aaron then joined as a full-time member in 2013. We love to create, produce, and play music. I would say we belong more to the New Haven music scene which is a small, tight-knit and highly creative location full of many treasures including Chaser Eight.”

Who are your biggest musical influences as a band?

“Our members have differing tastes, which I think helps to make our sound more interesting and nimble. Pete and Aaron like metal, hard rock, progressive rock and old school hip hop; Bill also likes traditional metal and hard rock but is always seeking out new and interesting rock bands on Spotify. I prefer indie rock and pop music, and *AUDRA* likes a whole range of rock and pop music from The Beatles to Pink Floyd to Lana Del Rey.” 

What inspired the music video for ‘Let It Roll’?

“Even though the song is a touch melancholy, it also has a fast and propulsive energy that we thought would fit well with a party scene. The darker energy of the song is present in *AUDRA*’s personal journey (within the video) and the fun and fast nature of the tune is represented by all of the poolside drinking.”

What life experiences and events led to the writing and recording of your EP “At the 426”?

“”At The 426” is the first album we made with all of the current members of Chaser Eight. We knew we didn’t yet have the resources to create a full-length studio album, but we still wanted to put something out there to show everyone where we were headed as a band. “At The 426″  was a complete DIY job, with every track recorded at our practice space/band house (the street address is 426). Both the name and sound represent the rugged and determined nature of the band. Though we are very proud of the EP, it is only a taste of things to come.”

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