REVIEW: CHASE ATLANTIC ‘BEAUTY IN DEATH’; “A HAZY ROLLERCOASTER OF CONCENTRATED HYPE AND DESPONDENCY”
Chase Atlantic‘s vulnerable, dark ambiance permeating their 2019 sophomore album ‘PHASES’ continues to flourish on the band’s forthcoming third project, ‘BEAUTY IN DEATH’.
‘BEAUTY IN DEATH’ marks the Australian trio confidently striding toward their music’s future and turning inward as they examine intimate relationships formed with emptiness, pain, and mental health struggles brought on by a whirlwind of life experiences. The soundscape liaising between the realms of hip-hop, R&B, pop, and alternative rock that served as Chase Atlantic‘s initial claim to fame feels more refined than ever, demonstrating how when executed right, tracing back to one’s roots can yield a fruitful showcase of creative precision and maturity.
The album introduces its spacious dreamscape with “PARANOID”. Vocoded vocals backed steady soft beats gradually blossom into more substantial melodies as the song topically tackles anxiety in a simplistic manner. It’s no secret Chase Atlantic‘s signature sound borrows heavily influence from modern rock music, and the outro’s riff and scream pepper in unexpected, yet intensified delivery. Lyrically, “PLEASEXANNY” serves as an extension to the topic of the former track, but it’s overall an immediate low point for the album and doesn’t offer much stimulation or excitement.
You might recognize “OUT THE ROOF” as the first single that unassumingly hinted at the potential of a forthcoming bigger body of work. If you do, you know the band have a knack for writing full-fledged flexing anthems that lean all the way into their hip-hop side; if you don’t, here’s your perfect opportunity to learn.
“I don’t want to say that I’m god, but I’ll take you to heaven if you die,” says Mitchell Cave, breathing life into “SLIDE”‘s golden hook that doubles as a line from one of ‘BEAUTY IN DEATH’‘s strongest choruses. The track’s hazy ambience captivates as Cave embellishes the atmosphere with a softer but nonetheless powerful, airy melody.
Here’s where the seemingly rollercoaster album reaches its objective peak: exactly 0:17 seconds into “PLEASE STAND BY”. The second the intro stops is the second hype and humble brags are concentrated into musical form. With the help of solo artists De’Wayne and Xavier Mayne each boasting bravado to enhance the song, “PLEASE STAND BY” bounces back from the deep-cutting anguish of “SLIDE” to bring the album’s enthralling and relentless keystone track.
Songs like “BEAUTY IN DEATH” and “CALL ME BACK” deliver two different tastes of the shimmering 80’s time capsule tracks many know and love; the title track persists with a danceable groove as part of the essential three song stretch containing the album’s strongest moments, while the somber latter track hashes out the disheartening struggles of being a musician constantly on the road, inevitably becoming more disconnected to people and life back home.
The rollercoaster metaphor is almost too fitting given the tracks that follow; “ALEYUH” is not particularly memorable at all, while “MOLLY” offers genre fluidity and an interesting discourse personifying a substance to humanize the reality of the codependent relationship that festers in the wake of escapism. “I THINK I’M LOST AGAIN” presents the most lyrically jarring and raw account of innermost turmoil. “My brain is a product of life and narcotics combined,” Cave says, quietly, before echoing heart-wrenching frustration and sadness.
Truthfully, “EMPTY” and “WASTED” are more of a descent than a plateau, but both tracks attest to the album’s overall sonic identity being more concrete and Chase Atlantic‘s persistent that ultimately propels them forward; unlike 2019’s ‘PHASES’ that heavily ventured into more experimental territory, ‘BEAUTY IN DEATH’ delves deeper into the sound and songwriting styles the band have trademarked and perfected over the years. Looking beyond lyrics revolving around pleasure, drugs, alcohol, and partying– several recurring motifs listeners anticipate, if not wholeheartedly expect to make appearances throughout Chase Atlantic‘s lyricism, ‘BEAUTY IN DEATH’ peers into the despondent, less-illuminated corners of the band’s minds, encouraging anyone the album’s mass of vulnerable poeticism is resonant with to fearlessly, shamelessly, and honestly do the same: face their inner demons and reality head-on.
Favorite Tracks: “PLEASE STAND BY”, “BEAUTY IN DEATH”, “SLIDE”