Derivative but Danceable
Opening with a baroque introductory track, Chronovision could give the unknowing listener the impression that the following 12 tracks might be an excursion into the underappreciated world of chamber pop; instead, “Nevena” instantly crushes those thoughts with a pounding electronic beat and Brad Oberhofer’s nasally post-punk vocals. While the orchestral instrumentation can still be found throughout these melancholy but danceable songs, it mainly serves as a backdrop to other themes and gets lost in the mix.
First single “Memory Remains” recalls the 2000s new wave of post-punk, at times even reaching the commercialism reached by the most accessible band of that era, the Killers. It’s not too difficult to close your eyes and imagine the song fitting in perfectly alongside radio hits like “Somebody Told Me”; Oberhofer certainly tries his hardest to achieve the same emotive vocal earnestness as Brandon Flowers did on his band’s breakout single.
Elsewhere, Oberhofer displays a vocal style that can evoke a wide range of modern music’s most identifiable voices. “Ballroom Floor” and “What You Know” have the tripped-out ’60s bubblegum pop of Animal Collective’s Panda Bear, while “Someone Take Me Home” has the guitar fuzziness and snotty vocals that undeniably evolved from Ty Segall or King Tuff. While these influences may sound disparate, there is one common bond between these groups: a love for psychedelic rock.
Chronovision is a nicely paced album; for every upbeat rocker like “White Horse Black River,” there is a soft ballad like “Sea of Dreams” to balance out the aggression. While the album closes with the instrumental bookend “Listen to Everyone,” a more effective recessional is the second-to-last song, “What You Know.” The longest song on the album at 4:49, it has an epic feel to it that would have served as the perfect closing. Alas, Oberhofer decided to honor symmetry by beginning and ending the album with an instrumental track.
Perhaps falling a bit on the derivative side, Oberhofer offers up 12 tracks of solid post-punk that rarely falters or bores its listener. The vocals might take a little getting used to, but fans of the genre should find plenty to love on Chronovision.