Every now and then, a band comes along within the alternative scene that seems to stick out like a sore thumb, and leaves people questioning how they’ve come to be labelled with the ‘alternative’ brush.
While sometimes it can prove good, opening up the scene to new elements not often associated with it, more often than not you get what Chase Atlantic do on ‘Phases’.
Only six months after dropping their last EP, ‘Don’t Try This’, the Australian trio return with their second full-length record, ‘Phases’, which would naturally suggest this is a rushed work. Yet, the main bug-bear for Chase Atlantic here is that they’re not pushing for anything original, with the majority of the record feeling massively stock, and far from that confusing ‘alternative’ tag.
In fact, it seems the ‘alternative’ quality stems from previous work/tours with Sleeping With Sirens and Good Charlotte, alongside some ’emo’ lyrics and dark-toned synths.
Mislabelling aside, each track song seems to fit a similar mould, with slick boy band-style clean vocals glossily produced over R&B beats, atmospheric synths, and a whole tone of sax leads. The latter is an on-the-nose nod to The 1975, with an 80s aesthetic often coming into contrast with modern trap tendencies – like the title-track, or the semi-gospel notes and ploddy synth lead in the chorus of ‘Love Is (Not) Easy’, which feels far too similar to ‘If I Believe You’ in places, adding little to a predictable collection of pop songs.
Lyrically, Mitchell Cave fails to offer much more than the stereotypical trashy R&B lines; flexing whatever brands they wear, doing copious amounts of drugs, and talking like women are objects (which is both offensive and routinely boring), or even the confusing message on ‘Even Though I’m Depressed’.
All that said, the typical hooks that come hand-in-hand with Chase Atlantic‘s style are examplified multiple times, and seem like a minor saving grace, with both ‘Angel’ and ‘Stuckinmybrain’ heading the bunch. But, while it’s catchy, it just doesn’t feel original or real.
The ‘alternative’ tag seems to dress Chase Atlantic up as something they’re not, and that almost seems unfair. Yet, ‘Phases’, as a pop/R&B record is an average release – not great, not awful, but mostly very generic. The issue that the three-piece will need to address is that they need to pave a genuine identity in their future endeavours.