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August 9, 2010 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Street Chant—Means

Street Chant—Means
Arch Hill Recordings

In a year littered with releases from great New Zealand bands, it kinda looks like Auckland three-piece Street Chant topped them all. Their debut album Means has been quite some time coming (via Arch Hill), but turns out it’s worth the wait. Despite some of these songs being initially written almost four years ago, little, if anything about this album feels dated. On that note, nor does it feel particularly ‘trendy’, or adhering to a certain sound / aesthetic of the now. Means is, simply put, a collection of fucking good songs.

Opener ‘The Fatigues’ comes forth from some electronic squeal (possibly the only non bass / drums / guitar / vox input on the album) and storms the gates, its fast / medium pacing turns, keeping the listener engaged all the way. By the time it hits the chorus, you realise just what a fucking incredible opener this is. All the ‘hits’ that Street Chant fans will know are here—‘Scream Walk’, ‘You Do The Maths’, ‘Yr Philosophy’ and ‘Less Chat, More Sewing’ sound superb. Bob Frisbee’s production isn’t overbearing by any means (lol), balancing everything—the bass is fuzzed out slightly but super forceful, Emily Littler, whose vocals have never really been a ‘wow’ point of the band previously, establishes herself exemplarily as a quality vocalist, and, of course, Alex Brown’s drumming becomes a focal point wherever he is given room to move (see the end of ‘Less Chat, More Sewing’—or anywhere on the album, really).

Means exhibits excellent variation in pacing too. Slowburner ‘Stoned Again’ chronicles weed escapism and boredom in a fantastic buildup of a song, while ‘Yara Aba’ brings out one of the catchier riffs on the record. Littler’s vocals don’t quite match the frantic breaks, but as a colleague pointed out, that’s more of a production issue than anything else. Album closer ‘The Password is Password’ comes as a particular surprise. Quiet, with minimal drums and hushed vocals, it rounds out the album calmly and effectively. Even if it does sound like a track which might have benefitted more from being a full-blown grunge monster, the decision to pare it back was inspired and successful.

In any case, I’m pretty sure I’ve gone on enough about this record. There’s a sort of timeless quality here, these are songs that merit returning to again and again. For those who know the material, it’s a near-perfect summation of their career to date. For those who don’t, it’s a stellar set of heavy guitar-pop songs. Either way, this album is an essential purchase.



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Comments (22)

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  1. kelvin says:

    “this album is an essential purchase. ”

    “with releases from great New Zealand bands…Street Chant topped them all”

    “a collection of fucking good songs”


  2. James Beavis says:

    haha it is supposed to be 6\10, that old joke… more like 6\5 imo

  3. kelvin says:

    ha ok then

  4. willy man says:

    kelvin is emily littler

  5. Accctually, Kelvin is from a rap group called The Crackhouse 5, and also an electro outfit called 47 Diamontes. I was part of the orignal 6/10 joke so upon reading this review I immediatly got the joke and had a lil chuckle. Lets save this bitchiness for the Einstein Music Journal review eh…(over my dead body). xxxx Ps Willy man yr name sound hawwwwwt, we should meet in real lyfe.

  6. kelvin says:

    i linked my name to my blog so people WOULDNT mistake me for a girl

  7. Auckland Man says:

    Aiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeowwwwwwwwwwww SHAMAGE ON YOUR NAMAGE!

  8. smackdown says:

    is this my family reunion

    hi friends :)

  9. James Beavis says:

    yeah wtf smackdown where you been

  10. smackdown says:

    double yew tee eff mate

  11. willy man says:

    emily… so mature… so dreamy…


    Willy man, your name is mature. Saying “kelvin is emily littler” is mature, it shows you lack knowlege of the Wellington scene – dat is mature. In the future, please contact me directly to discuss capital letters and mature things like cups of tea and debating in real life – as opposed to leaving retarded, unfounded and IMMATURE comments under a review of my band on the internet- under the alias “Willy man”.


    Ps Suck my willy, man.

  13. silly willy man says:

    u got a degree in getting pwnd emily? aaaaaooooooo

  14. silly willy man says:

    na jokes its me billy. get it – silly willy billy


    Yeah brooo hardout eh yous so pwd me ehhh……… (y)

  16. smackdown says:

    dont leave friends stay here always :-)

  17. smackdown's mother says:

    smackdown’s got no friends

    haha owned son

  18. smackdown says:

    get out of my room mom

  19. smackdown says:

    sorry about my rude mom guys how embarassing

    groan moms

  20. matthew says:

    nice html my man :-D

  21. smackdown says:

    im not a boy doofus

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