The Show: Wednesday, March 29, 2006
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On their debut e.p., the Chatterton boys mine ’70s-era FM radio for inspiration.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Chatterton

By Anthony Mariani

From the short list of retro rock styles yet to be appropriated or contemporized, probably the most resistant strain proves to be not only Chatterton’s chief point of departure but, now heard with fresh ears, pretty effin cool. The sound in question essentially dominated FM radio during the mid-1970s — bright drums, raw and rocking guitars, gospel-ish keyboards, jazzy accents, and melodies lifted straight from ’60s soul platters, stripped of concupiscence, and infused with equal parts desperation, resignation, and affirmation. Echoes of the best of the sound’s purveyors — Steely Dan, the Alan Parsons Project, Gary Wright, Supertramp, Bruce Springsteen — twist, rattle, and hum throughout the local quintet’s just-released five-song eponymous debut e.p. (produced at Artisan Recording Studios in Farmer’s Branch).

The beginning is “A Good Place to Start” here, and how: Frontman and lyricist Kevin Aldridge has a reedy, sweet, diaphanous voice, and, over the song’s finger-snapping beat and big yet light guitar jangle, he rides the accompanying Hammond B-3’s winding lines like a horse with no name. The same open road spreads across the last track, “Why Does Everybody Leave?,” a sunlit jaunt betrayed by the self-loathing at the song’s heart: “Why does everybody leave?,” Aldridge sings, rather confidently as if he knows the answer — he doesn’t. “Is it my lies,” he goes on, “or how they see through me?” Ouch.

Aldridge’s poison pen injects into the often mushy core of the old FM form the kind of bite we expect from a youngish indie rocker like him, who before launching Chatterton almost two years ago fronted the three-headed ax-attack of boom-rockers Brasco for several years.

In between the disc’s first and last tunes is a simple fact: As with all of Supertramp’s, Springsteen’s, and Steely Dan’s most poignant yarns, the troubled first-person narrator at the center of Chatterton may not be the guy singing or the universal “we” but, harrowingly enough, the person in the mirror.

Sat w/Chemistry Set and Carey Wolff at the Wreck Room, 3208 W 7th St, FW. 817-348-8303.


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