This second release from a newly re-jigged Chapman Family sees the Stockton-on-Tees band cite their northern musical heritage with a post-punk sensibility that has landed them with (somewhat generous) comparisons to The Jesus and Mary Chain and Joy Division. These likenesses, however, are harder to pinpoint than a Marks and Spark’s in a northern ghost town. No doubt the influences are apparent, but the similarities are tenuous, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the Chapmans who have cemented their own style of sorts; albeit one which, like bad 70’s architecture, is at times out of proportion, distorted, and drab but not without a certain cheap and resilient charm.
With torrential guitar riffs that pour down on dank drumbeats, Kingsley Chapman bawls out lyrics that have more pent up anger than a picket line outside of the picket factory: ‘This English life is falling apart,’ he wails; ‘I’m wasting away, I’m wasting my time, I’m wasting my life, not for the first time,’ he howls; ‘No one cares about you, oh really?’ he cries. With lyrics like these it’s hard not to draw comparisons to the champion of discontent himself – Morrissey. But just in case you were struggling, The Chapman Family offer up the last piece of the jigsaw with a bleak yet powerful cover of the maudlin master’s ‘Everyday is Like Sunday’.
It’s not pretty and at times it’s downright ugly, but the frustrations of life in the far reaches of forgotten England that are expressed on the EP seem as relevant in today’s climate of tight pockets and limited opportunities than they did in the days of our post-punk forefathers. That said, the Chapman Family don’t half bang on about it all, but then again, someone has to. However, it can’t be helped to feel that their voices will be largely ignored, unlike those of their predecessors. Something that is as much down to lack of originality as it is down to musical conviction.
Ingredients: crunching guitar riffs and liquid synthesisers.
May contain traces of: self-defeating pessimism.
Serving suggestions: while rattling a stick along the closed down factory gates.
Store next to: The Twilight Sad, Joy Division, The Smith.
Best before: you join the dole queue.
Nutritional value: 6/10