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The Chevin's debut album lives up to potential
So here it is – after months of being likened to everyone from The Killers to Roy Orbison, Otley’s own The Chevin have produced their debut album for the world to judge.
We have been given access to the band’s Borderland LP ahead of its Monday release – and we can report it is a cracker!
Is it this decade’s The Joshua Tree, or a stronger record than Sam’s Town? No, but then it is hard to imagine either of those landmark albums being topped in our lifetime.
What it is, though, is a remarkably assured start from a group blessed with an abundance of big melodies and, in singer-songwriter Coyle Girelli, a genuinely brilliant vocalist.
It opens with Champion, an inspiring showcase for the band with its spiralling, Editors-like guitars and Coyle’s voice hitting Orbison-level falsettos before powering into a roar that U2’s Bono would be proud of.
Second track Drive features jagged, Big Country-type guitar lines underpinning a huge melody and, ending with an Arcade Fire-style chant, is sure to go down a storm live.
Blue Eyes bursts into life with a thrilling blast of fast, acoustic guitar and a gorgeous, heartfelt delivery from the frontman, and though it turns into a folky stomp once the drums kick in, it is perfect, ephemeral fun.
Dirty Little Secret cannot live up to what has come before, and sounds like a B side, but all of that is forgotten when the next song, the album’s standout track, announces itself.
Love Is Just A Game is simply an irresistible, immediate rock classic. Starting like one of The Verve’s more sombre efforts, it builds to reach Jeff Buckley heights of vocal acrobatics, underpinned by Edge-like, weeping guitars. Title track Borderland cannot match it, and sounds a little too close to a U2 cover for comfort, while Beautiful World, driven by a piano and skyscraping vocal, is reminiscent of a Keane ballad, but lacking an emotional punch.
Gospel, on the other hand, features the kind of widescreen hooks The Killers have made their trademark, underpinned with the passion of Springsteen. Colours, is a welcome shift in tone, featuring electronica and a more dance-friendly beat.
And then it ends, with So Long Summer, which starts with a sparse piano arrangement but builds to an emotional, full band rock-out.
On this evidence, the hype was justified – and The Chevin, like their namesake, are here to stay.