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Album Review: Chon ‘Homey’

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After the release of their premiere LP Grow in 2015, Chon was labeled every genre in the book. To some they were a simple math rock group, at times ambient. To others, they were more progressive, and even verged on metal. Regardless of preference, every term worked because Chon infused each of these elements into their sound. While some are bound to say Chon’s 2017 release Homey solidified their place in the world of progressive, ambient, math-rock, the truth of the matter is that this summer-influenced LP has actually pushed their genre boundaries even further.

Even back during the days of Grow, Chon seemed to embrace seasons and weather. The album art of Grow featured colorful leaves, and the music was reminiscent of that image. Each track was a bit more surprising and hectic than the next, similar to  the unexpected nature of a fall wind storm.

Chon continues that trend on Homey, but follows up the windy fall seen on Grow with the bright, blistering days of summer. The album art of Homey follows suit, ditching the red leaves found on the cover of Grow with a set of perfectly pink palm trees.

The physical Homey CD was produced with the same care and attention generally only found in the production of vinyl records. Found exclusively in stores at FYE, the CD features a scratch and sniff album booklet, a coconut-scented car air freshener, and a recipe for banana nut loaf bread created by Chon’s own Erick Hansel.

Homey opens with the first single released off the album, “Sleepy Tea.” Just as the name suggests, the song is at first simple and subdued, quiet until it hits you with a rush of caffeine in the form of a quick guitar lead. Next is “Waterslide,” an upbeat, fun track that would indeed be perfect to listen to when splashing through a water park.

Unlike previous works in their discography, Homey makes use of collaborations, including four songs that bring two new musical elements to Chon’s sound. “Berry Street” featuring GoYama and “Glitch” featuring ROM bring electronic beats to the forefront of Homey. “Feel This Way” featuring Giraffage continues the electronic trend, but uses minimal vocals and guitar riffs that suggest a slight R&B vibe. Incorporating both electronica and R&B is the standout feature on Homey, a track titled “Nayhoo,” featuring Lophiile and Masego. The only song on the album with a full set of vocals, “Nayhoo” is unexpected and slightly shocking to those familiar with Chon’s usual tone. Still, this experimentation of sound is exactly what makes Homey stand out from Chon’s previous releases and pushes their sound farther than its gone before.

Even with the incorporation of these new sounds, Chon has not lost their jazz influence that sets them apart from some of the heavier progressive rock bands out there. “Checkpoint,” “Here and There,” and “Continue?” are the most reminiscent of classic Chon tracks, showcasing the trio’s talent in skilled composition and instrumentation. And it’s not just the arrangements on Homey that stand out. Chon’s musicianship is the best its ever been, with Homey’s tight guitar work and standout percussion performance.

Homey succeeds in the areas where a lot of sophomore albums fail. Chon has found a way to stay true to their sound while never limiting themselves or attempting to recreate the success of Grow.

Homey can be purchased here, and the music video for “Waterslide” can be found below:

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Amanda Krause

New Jersey-based music journalist / Twitter: @amandalynn_14

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