Chickenpox Party scratches itch for southern rock on new album despite a few missteps
On Chickenpox Party’s new self-titled album, the instrumentation hits hard from start to finish. It’s complex yet straightforward southern rock that pulls no punches.
This album’s also interesting simply due to the fact that when the songs are good, they’re pretty damn amazing, but when the songs aren’t so good, well, you can definitely hear the flaws in them.
The album starts off with an odd clown-act titled “Scabby the Clown.” I realize the humor the band’s trying to go for here, but, instead it comes off a little pervy, regardless, especially when Scabby says, “Hey there Josie want to look at my Posie?” Maybe that was the intention with the skit, for whatever reason, but, I would have much rather heard music from the band to open the album.
And indeed, following the odd intro is a great instrumental track, “Dumbentia.” It’s a perfect primer for the band and shows off it’s positive qualities well.
If you’re going to enjoy these guys, it’s for all the reasons you’ll hear on “In the Woods.” The vocals are done well, the guitar riffs are heavy, and all of the musical instrumentation meshes to create a memorable sound from a band you can tell has played more than once or twice together.
All things considered, my issue with the vocals really only become noticeable on the cover of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” “One More Nail,” and “Ill Deliberation.” For one, the inclusion of the Brown track is a curious pick for this southern rock group.
Aside from the vocals, which are definitely enthusiastic and loud, but sadly are a bit off key throughout, the band does a decent job of making the track their own, but it sticks out from the rest of the album, most definitely.
Overall, the issue with the vocals really comes down how much importance you may place in vocals when it comes to your rock music. Some people really can’t get into a song if the vocals aren’t top-notch, while others can forgive some vocal issues if the instrumentation, rhythm, tone and timing are all spot on. That’s the case with Chickenpox Party.
It’s also easy to forgive their sins when you hear such a richly textured track such as “Just the Same” or the laid-back feel of the much softer “Mamacita” which uses a slow build into the bluesy electric guitar riffs, which carry this one across the finish line. It’s also a second instrumental track on the album, which signifies to me that these guys know where their strengths lie. It doesn’t feel like as a listener you’re being deprived of anything too much with the inclusion of two instrumental tracks, at all.
According to the band’s official bio, on this album the group, “Hearkens back to the album-centric releases popular in the 60s and 70s,” it reads. “This release is best taken as a whole piece rather than the “cherrypicked” style of many modern releases.” The only issue with that, I’d argue, is that some of the songs are much more fun to listen to than others.
Be that as it may, are they a perfect band? Not by any means, but they do the genre justice with some intelligent, enjoyable songs as you take your journey through their 12-track album.
If you love southern rock, it’ll surely be a fun trip to take, just as long as you watch out for a few twists, turns and bumps in the road along the way.