Sometimes shit just comes together. That statement can apply to so many things like money, relationships, projects and occasionally – music. Case in point today is the Boston garage punk collective called The Chives. The group is made up of members from bands Blue Ray, Brittle Brian, Squitch, and Looks Like Mountains and together they have released a debut album that is disjointed, lo-fi, off key, contains nine credited vocalists, noisy, searches for a style, abrasive, doesn’t care about anybody or anything, can’t carry much of a melody and is just plain snotty. With this description you would think The Chives suck but actually this DIY project is quite the opposite. All of those adjectives make this record one of the great energetic fuzzed up finds in 2020.
The consistent piece that The Chives have going for them is the aggressive nature of their guitar and how the instrument is placed front and center. No matter what style of vocal you get on each track, you can almost guarantee that a guitar strum of any tempo is the backbone of the song. No matter how lo-fi the vocals can be, The Chives do possess a classic indie sound as they rev the guitars in the right place like a very early Strokes or X album. That doesn’t mean the vocals don’t shape the songs. They can be just as important holding these songs up with a confident swagger, especially with the mix of male and female vocals because the synergy reminds me of the Pixies. I loved the foot tapper “You’re Mom’s A Bitch” where the title says it all but also make sure you hear “You’re daddy, he’s a real douche bag too” becuase it seriously will make you chuckle. This is the type of carefree lyrics The Chives offer and they are fantastic. During “Runnin’ From The Law” the group consistently tells you they are going to “steal your candy.” It is sinister but also super enjoyable!
So many fun loud and short bangers make up the 13 songs on this debut and it really gets better with every spin. The Chives have an organic chemistry that would be hard to create any other way as these tracks just roll. The track list has a weird seamless transition even though the songs don’t really go together on paper and with each track you can hear something different. Every time the vocals get muffled over by the music it truly makes you want to hear more, while on occasion you can find a strong song chorus that disappears just as fast as it appeared. I am not sure if this collective can create this magic again but The Chives self-titled debut is a joy to listen for hear and now!
Key Tracks: “Runnin’ From The Law” / “You’re Mom’s A Bitch” / “Fucked My Shit Up”
Artists With Similar Fire: Honey Radar / Pixies / Royal Trux
-Reviewed by Thomas Wilde