Chains Of Love - 'Strange Grey Days'

The hotly tipped Canadians update the classic sound of Motown

  • Release Date 25 Jun, 2012
  • Producer Felix Fung
  • Record Label Manimal Vinyl
  • Fact Felix Fung owns a recording studio in Vancouver called 'Little Red Sounds'
7 / 10
A random thought: we’re guessing Vancouver newcomers Chains Of Love probably aren’t named after the Erasure song of the same name. The sextet started out life as the world’s most inconsequential side-project, when Felix Fung – aka the main techy guy at cult studio Little Red Sounds – decided to live out his Motown fantasies during work downtime by calling up the cream of the nearby musical crop, inviting them over to jam out a few Shangri-Las riffs and, well, that was it.

Until, that is, they stumbled across last year’s debut single ‘You Got It’ – an irresistible take on late-’60s R&B that crammed practically every cliché of the pop-soul-pastiche book into its two minutes and 41 seconds, yet still remained shockingly brilliant. And now? It’s time for the debut album.

First off, it’s a crying shame that ‘You Got It’ isn’t on it. Get over that, though, and there’s a bunch of teary emotions bagged up in the spikiest of descending scales. Opener ‘He’s Leaving (With Me)’ sets the pace, with kaleidoscopic keyboards eventually collapsing under the weight of singer Nathalia Pizarro’s ballsy growls, before giving way to a razor-sharp guitar breakdown.

It’s Pizarro, rather than Fung, who’s the star of the show, sounding not unlike a youthful Ronnie Spector (always sultry, always leading, only slightly sullen) – although even she can’t stop the band from venturing a few steps too far into the land of parody every so often. ‘Lies Lies Lies’, for instance, almost collapses under the weight of trying too hard to be our baby.

But it’s mighty difficult to feel anything other than mild annoyance towards the Chains on the rare occasion they do end up tripping up. That’s classic Motown for you, I guess...
Danielle Reed

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