Grian Chatten, Chaos For The Fly Review
Exploring New Sonic Territories: A Vocal Odyssey with Grian Chatten in Chaos For The Fly
by Rudy Palma
Chaos For The Fly, the debut solo offering from Fontaines D.C.’s frontman, Grian Chatten, is a nine-song collection that feels as vast and varied as the human experience. The album bears the imprint of Chatten’s unique brand of lyrical introspection and atmospheric indie rock, infused with subtle electronic textures and punctuated by his trademark vocal versatility. Released on June 30, 2023, under the Partisan Records label, the album provides an intimate exploration into the emotive prowess of Chatten’s voice and his ability to invoke vivid images through song.
While Fontaines D.C. is renowned for its post-punk edge, Chaos For The Fly leans more towards the alternative indie rock sound, with Chatten taking center stage not just as the vocalist but also handling the guitars, bass, keyboards, synths, and harmonica. The album’s production is led by Dan Carey, who also lends his hand at the instruments, and contributions from Fontaines’ drummer Tom Coll and Chatten’s fiancée, Georgie Jesson, on guest vocals, add to the overall dynamic sound.
From the opening track, “The Score,” Chatten’s vocal prowess is apparent as he blends introspective lyrics with a delicate, almost fragile vocal timbre, creating a practically melancholic aura. The acoustic guitar’s arpeggio patterns and synth backdrops provide a perfect canvas for his lyrical storytelling.
“Last Time Every Time Forever” challenges convention with its unusual time signature. Chatten’s vocals, adorned with a dub-style reverb, sit comfortably at the back of the mix, engulfing the listener in the swirling sounds of synths and strings. His duet with Jesson further adds a hauntingly beautiful texture to the song.
On “Fairlies,” Chatten’s vocals take on a more aggressive tone, the intensity matching the song’s upbeat rhythm. The Dublin influence is palpable in his vocal accent and melodic choices.
“All Of The People” is an introspective number that throws the spotlight onto Chatten’s vocal subtleties. His emotive delivery of this critique of the music industry underscores his ability to weave complex emotions into his vocal performances.
“East Coast Bed” reveals Chatten’s range as he hits impressive low notes, while “Salt Throwers off a Truck” allows his punk influence to shine through with its loose, raw vocals.
“I Am So Far” features an exquisite vocal blend of Chatten and Jesson, while the final track, “Season For Pain,” demonstrates the breadth of Chatten’s vocal prowess. His lower register resonates with clarity and purpose, smoothly transitioning between tones.
Chaos For The Fly is a study in emotive vocal delivery. It showcases Grian Chatten’s ability to push the boundaries of his vocal performance, traversing from fragile whisper-like tones to powerful, raw expressions. He displays impressive range, control, and diction, and the constant variation in his vocal tone adds a unique depth to each track. In addition, the productions place his voice in different places with the stereo stage for added variety, thanks to Carey’s keen ear.
While the album’s songwriting may not house typical earworms, it’s clear that Chaos For The Fly is not meant for casual listening. It demands attention and rewards those willing to delve into its introspective narratives, guided by Chatten’s evocative vocals.
Overall, Chaos For The Fly is a compelling exploration of Chatten’s vocal versatility and his ability to weave emotive tales through song. A journey not just through Dublin’s imagery and personal failings but a journey into the depth and breadth of Chatten’s vocal ability.