This Is Happening

Written by: PP on 13/11/2006 21:16:58

While listening to the dreamy soundscapes of "Tongue" and its distant, faded vocals that remind you of Tool at their softest, most experimentalist moments, it is difficult to imagine this has all been composed, performed, produced and put together by a 16 year old from Hampshire, UK, who goes by the name of Jack Chuter, because the musical arrangements on his debut album "This Is Happening" are nothing short of stunning.

Think of Pelican's experimental purely instrumental sessions, or the incredibly vast, open-ended guitar riffs Stephen Carpenter pulls of in Deftones, or the kind of experimentalist neverending progression you'll find on any Isis material, and you're not far off from "This Is Happening". The songs are soft but at the same time the riffs are strong and captivate you with their purely logical construction, much like the kind of instrumental perfection you can find on a Tool album. You know every note is exactly where you would expect it to be the second after you've heard it, and the rumbling heavyness is established by a 7-string guitar, making you nod your head slowly to the rhythmic pulsations of songs like "Spectator".

It's also rare to hear vocals as soothing as here. Just take the six and a half minute monster "Overcast Sunset" where Jack's Chino Moreno meets Maynard-style soft astral vocals that sound like they're straight from outer space - the neverending kind of emptyness that revolves around the soundscapes perfectly - spellbind you especially when listened through a quality set of headphones. Without overstating a single bit, this is simply the best late-night material I've heard in months if not years.

The sheer complexity of it all makes this an engaging listen, and it is easy to discover new elements within the arrangements on each listen. But even with excellence there are often some faults, however minor they may be, and "This Is Happening" isn't an exception to the rule. The first half of the album is strong - really strong - with the opening track "This Is Happening" and "Spectator" rocking you out of your chair straight away, something which can't necessarily be said about the overly loud "Hold", whose guitar riffs and pace are perhaps slightly too aggressive to align with the silent lusciousness of tracks like the brilliant 7 minute epic "Tongue". "Enough", the closing track, frankly sounds like its effects were recorded underwater, while the drums and vocals were in a vast industrial hall, and the end result is understandably messy. But these minor flaws are compensated by the sheer brilliance of the first half tracks with the title-track at the forefront.


Download: This Is Hell, Tongue
For the fans of: Isis, Deftones, Tool, Pelican
Listen: Download full album @ Soundclick

Release date 30.07.2006

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