Chickenhawk - Modern Bodies (Brew)

Leeds boys are onto a winner.

Released Nov 15th, 2010 via Brew / By Jack Sibley
Chickenhawk - Modern Bodies (Brew) Having made a slow climb for the last five years out of house shows and self-organised touring in and around that vibrant alternative music scene that is Leeds, Chickenhawk have finally exploded outwards with this much anticipated release. Mixing speedy modal riffs, complex rhythms and a sort of light-hearted aggression (strengthened by almost comic subject matter), they feel like a band whose ultimate musical project would be ripping their fans ears off and pouring distortion down the open wounds for a laugh.

One of the most important and interesting features of the record is the regular use of irregular time signatures – a technique that will utterly confuse your average headbanger as the band jump from jerky beat to jerky beat with an entirely natural feel. Add to this a good amount of technicality and you’ve got some music you can really sink your blood-soaked teeth into. The breakdown in the track ‘NASA vs ESA’ is a perfect example of this with rising then falling arpeggios sweeping up and down the frets punctuated every so often by a set of ‘Rite-esque’ rhythmic stabs set to a perfectly nonsensical time signature.

To sweeten the deal even more, the production is perfect, with every scratchy guitar line piercing through like a jagged talon. But don’t think that’s the only sound these guys have – they’re genuine tone junkies with common use of effects such as the beautifully distorted, almost bluesy vocals of ‘The Let Down’. Underneath all this, the drums and bass come out both clear and massive in form providing a distinct and necessary amount of power.

But far and away the thing I love best about this is their sense of humour. From music videos depicting zombie invasions to a track called ‘Gravitronic Life-ray Table’, there are many things that let you know Chickenhawk aren’t taking themselves too seriously and thank God for that. If this record had been filled with angst and an unwarranted and random anger, it would have fallen into an ever-growing pile of bedroom musicians who have learnt to play really fast, read up on their theory and used it to create an album without any touch of humanity (see Electric Phoenix). What makes this album great is a feeling that you’re listening to four guys from the pub who are, at the end of the day, just enjoying themselves.