Monday, April 29, 2019

Chinook - Haymaker (2019)

Its difficult to have expectations for a musical project 9 years after the fact. Yet here we are with the recently released full length from Michigan based post-rockers Chinook.

My previous write up  for those interested highlighted a few things that stay very consistent with this newer and more fleshed out release. Driving pastoral flecked post-rock that flirts with some math rock lite conventions. Regardless its a relaxed and uncomplicated listen that lends itself well to its iconography of open spaces and nature.

As with the previous outing instrumentally we are again treated with insanely excellent drums which should be no great shock to anyone that caught the EP. In a way the drums end up pushing the other instrumentation through each song and we can all be grateful for that as they play in the pocket when needed but are always strongest when they are pushing their specific rhythmic narrative. Speaking of the rhythm section I do wish the bass had a bit more presence here as I feel like often the low end isn't as fleshed out as I typically like it to be but minor gripes aside there are some pretty stellar moments for all involved.

The album itself moves well through its songs if not a bit slower paced and with track lengths in the 5-6 minute range its hard to shake some of the extended riffs. Highlights like the energetic harmonic workouts in "Frenching" and the guitar bends in the main riff of "Manhattan Rubber" mix things up wonderfully and keep things feeling fresh. As its here that lies Chinook's true strength which is taking the post rock carved out by bands such as Pele and expanding those dynamic structures with interesting guitar interplay led by the drums.

Admittedly my heart rests with the first EP if we are choosing favorites. I do truly miss some of the overdriven distortion that helped fill the spaces and add variety which is very absent in Haymaker. To be incredibly fair 9 years is a lifetime to expect anything remotely close to come out. While I may pick and prod here and there its because these guys are really that excellent and still remain one of the genres best kept secrets. We can only hope that we wont have to wait as long for a follow up next time around.

Score - 79%

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