Review: Branden Daniel & the Chics' debut LP 

****

Keep Em Flying
Branden Daniel & the Chics
Chic Shit

click to enlarge keep_em_flying.jpg

Keep Em Flying, by Branden Daniel & the Chics, opens with "All Things Chic," a song of rhythmic drums and upbeat guitar riffs. The song is simply infectious; its various movements evoke an excellent live atmosphere. Start-stop guitar and drums accompany the repetitive refrain, "growing up to be a model." The opening track immediately grabbed my attention.

The subsequent songs showcase rudimentary, yet poppy, chord arrangements. Daniel sings with a reserved swagger; his passion spills with each word.

I could not help but hear another singer as I heard Branden Daniel sing. When dealing with higher notes, Daniel sounds startlingly similar to Tunde Adebimpe, the frontman for TV on the Radio. Both singers have a groovy influence to their vocals, and both have impressive range.

Branden Daniel and Aaron Schroeder, baritone guitarist, create stellar guitar tracks throughout the entire album. Whether implementing high note solos or a steady bass line; it's easy to nod along to the quick tempo.

Branden Daniel & the Chics are also reminiscent of the Black Keys. The former is not so guitar-reliant, but both bands simply jam. Their songs are memorable, and not in the annoying, bothersome way. I can listen to any song by the Black Keys and imagine how awesome it would be to hear at a concert. I can do the exact same for Branden Daniel & the Chics. The song "Mor Yay" is a prime example of this similarity.

After my first few listens of the album, I realized the focus of the band is the music, as opposed to the lyrics. This is not to say the lyrics are trite, but the emphasis relies heavily on the melody and musical arrangement. The lyrics are just not as integral to the album as a whole.

Each song has its own unique stamp, but these marks of distinction can be forgotten among the slightly repetitive theme of the album. As I listen to each song, I can say with enthusiasm what I like about it, but afterwards, I would struggle to identify their specifics. In the moment, I can recall most of it, but I am not remembering much more than the few catchy choruses and guitar melodies.

Overall, the album was impressive - in fact, much better than I anticipated. I recommend the album for anyone who appreciates genuine rock and roll. Branden Daniel & the Chics offer a fresh sound. Give Keep Em Flying a listen; unless you are a jaded critic, you will not be disappointed.

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