Recommend if you like: Explosions In the Sky, Mutemath, Coheed & Cambria
Expectation: Chon is a progressive rock group from California who have gained a moderate following over the past few years thanks to two self-released EP’s. The group seems to draw inspiration from post-rock, as their music is usually only instrumental, but plays with a technical proficiency fringing on math rock. Grow marks the group’s first full-length effort, as well as their major label debut.
- Drift – A nice “calm before the storm” style of intro. Cool and melodic ambiance to set up what comes next.
- Story – Opening with a series of lightning-quick guitar runs, then quickly lapsing into a more relaxed melodic style accented by drum flourishes in a style reminiscent of Japanese post-rock group ‘toe’. The group alternates between these looser, more relaxed segments and the tighter, riff driven chunks to keep the song engaging throughout.
- Fall – A very melodic track, with the booming drums providing a contrast to the sweet, ringing guitars.
- Book – One of the most memorable riffs on the album and an overall solid song.
- Can’t Wait – One of the few tracks to feature vocals, but perfectly placed in the tracklist to provide diversity just as the album risked becoming monotonous.
- Knot – The layers here loop in a strange timing that gives off a very interesting effect.
- Splash – Just an insane performance. The guitars work in a perfect unison that puts Coheed & Cambria to shame, and the drums provide a constant flow of new and interesting grooves.
- Perfect Pillow – Probably the best track for introducing Chon to prog-rock fans; the guitars are incredibly intricate, and the song structure is all jams with no transitions, skipping from one section to another quickly enough that one of them has to impress the listener eventually.
- Echo – The second of the two tracks with vocals, with a catchier chorus than the former. A catchy rock tune rooted in very tasteful instrumental performances, with a heavy dose of restraint working strongly in the song’s favor.
- But- A bit of a more relaxed track to close the album, with an underlying tension in the constantly unresolved riffs. I wish there were more of an outro, but its strangely fitting for the song to just end abruptly, given its title.
Overall: A strong debut that will hopefully help bring a bit of life to the somewhat stagnant post-rock and progressive-rock scenes. If you’re familiar with either of those genres, than Chon will impress you, but if you aren’t, then Chon will blow your mind. The group’s playing style leans more towards progressive rock, with their riff-heavy, precise and fast playing, but the group has an understanding of the rise-and-fall dynamics that make post-rock work in the first place. The group’s melodies bear a strong resemblance to post-rock progenitors Tortoise, as well as the band ‘toe.’, but their performances tend to be busier, with a fuller sound. Overall, its a solid album that would be a blast to see played live and makes great background music for occasions when lyrics would be distracting.