Chromatics – Kill for Love Chromatics – Kill for Love

Chromatics - Kill for Love

Chromatics’ Kill for Love opens with a cover of Neil Young’s “Into the Black.” Originally conceived as a benediction to a fading career, Young’s song has been quoted and used in the wrong context for decades. The Chromatics’ cover puts the listener in an odd place. Why would a band use this song for an opener to what is becoming a critically praised album? The lines “it’s better to burn out than fade away” has been chosen to act as overture to an entire product. How cheesy is this record really going to be? I have no idea what to feel. This seemingly small aspect of the record, surprisingly, does resolve itself. By the end of Kill for Love it is apparent that Chromatics have attempted and succeeded in redefining the nature of tribute and memory.

The past is a huge starting point for this Portland-based band, as they have been obsessed with things which have already occurred. Began as a noisy post punk group, Chromatics merged into a retro-synthpop act beginning in 2007 with their release, Night Drive. Up until this point they were never really a force or at least not in the same arena. Not only did the band gain their own identity with Night Drive but their time cloning became something more dense than recreation. This was only the beginning of something else.

Before we even begin with Chromatics we must first look at Johnny Jewel. Jewel is a musician/producer who served as the impetus for Chromatic’s transformation by contributing programming for Night Drive. Jewels’ obsession with hazy synth and outdated electronics has been instrumental in Chromatics’ success. Chromatics contributed “Tick of the Clock” for the 2011 film Drive thus gaining a larger audience. Incidentally, Jewel’s original score went used in lieu of Cliff Martinez’s but was released under the title Soundtrack to an Imaginary Film. Jewel’s presence has been pushing Chromatics into a new space transcending a throwback sound into something new. Chromatics have finally become its own time period. We have arrived at 2012, 1983, and 3001 all at once.

Kill For Love is being heavily compared to M83‘s Hurry up Were Dreaming — Both explore the concept of memories through a spin cycle of faded synths. Both are long and demanding of attention. Both could be played through a Betamax at midnight in a darkened room. Both are amazing and bring me to my knees longing for a past I never experienced. Kill for Love, according to Jewel, originally yielded 37-tracks which was then narrowed to 17. Whether or not there will be anymore releases in the future is still uncertain as Kill For Love‘s 17-tracks are enough to bring new definitions to the concepts of atmosphere.

Compared to previous synth records, Kill For Love employs something rarely seen in throwback acts. The use of subtlety drives this record into greatness. The album’s singles (“Lady”/”Kill for Love”) would be interludes on any other synthpop record. There is no desire to do anything else but whisper above a landscape of foggy neon. Within that subtlety, however, are dense layers of melody held together by a groove which never goes above the third gear. The record’s longest songs (“The Streets will Never Look The Same Again” / “Running From the Sun”) work within the elongated space and never intends to bore. This is, perhaps, the greatest achievement of Kill for Love; without exerting the strength needed to open a jar of maraschino cherries, the band successfully connects and impresses the audience.

Chromatics have not only gotten the sound of synthpop cloned but also the spirit. The early 80’s were marked by moody songs cloaked in upbeat and futuristic sounds. Acts like Ultravox, Gary Newman, and Visage showed a world where sadness could be amplified by artificial melodies. Kill for Love, in its entirety, is a tragic declaration of being marooned in a timeless place. This is a night drive through Purgatory. Kill for Love is more disaffected and uncaring than Hurry Up We’re Dreaming. It is older and more grief ridden. While it is easier to dismiss this band as another retro throwback, the truth is more confusing than the band’s opening cover.

Tracklist:
1. INTO THE BLACK
2. KILL FOR LOVE
3. BACK FROM THE GRAVE
4. THE PAGE
5. LADY
6. THESE STREETS WILL NEVER LOOK THE SAME
7. BROKEN MIRRORS
8. CANDY
9. THE ELEVENTH HOUR
10. RUNNING FROM THE SUN
11. DUST TO DUST
12. BIRDS OF PARADISE
13. A MATTER OF TIME
14. AT YOUR DOOR
15. THERE’S A LIGHT OUT ON THE HORIZON
16. THE RIVER
17. NO ESCAPE

Chromatics - Kill for Love, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2012-04-19T10:33:24+00:00 rating 4.3 out of 5



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