Chastity manages to write a number of excellent songs but fails to create a cohesive album
Brandon Williams, the frontman of Chastity, has been exploring a number of different styles since the release of his first demo tape on Bandcamp in late 2015. The Whitby, Ontario based-artist remains stylistically explorative on his sophomore album, Home Made Satan, and manages to strike gold on a few different occasions despite the project’s issues with consistency.
The album gets started with two of the more low-key tracks, relatively speaking. The instrumentation of “Flames” and “Dead Relatives” is reminiscent of the work of shoegaze greats Slowdive, but Williams puts his own spin on the sound with more emo-leaning lyrics. Both tracks are well executed and function as a great two-track intro to the project. Unfortunately, the transition from “Dead Relatives” into track three, “Spirit Meetup,” and “Spirit Meetup” itself represent some of the most glaring flaws in the entire album. The transition practically feels like a mistake. Williams gives a few moments of silence at the end of “Dead Relatives” for the track to breathe and the listener to process then shoots right into the heavy guitars of “Spirit Meetup” without any buffer between the two tracks’ starkly different styles. Also, “Spirit Meetup” is all over the place, entering a number of different sounds without committing to anything in particular or doing any of the styles all that well. Maybe the most frustrating aspect of the track is that the lack of change in vocal style across the track combined with the quickly changing production becomes irritating soon after the track begins. The fact that this is the longest track on the album certainly doesn’t help either.
Oddly enough, the next track, “Sun Poisoning” represents a great example of a proper meld of multiple styles (remaining mostly in an emo style in the same vein as Dashboard Confessional) and is certainly a highlight of the project. The album is mostly smooth sailing from here on out (aside from the stylistic consistency issues). Williams continues to experiment, with “Anxiety” invoking the best aspects of Sunny Day Real Estate’s take on emo. The best track on the album, “Bliss,” gets in the same pocket as American Football’s classics while still managing to feel fresh. Home Made Satan finishes up with “Strife,” a pop-punk banger that shares the same intensity as PUP’s recent work (Morbid Stuff) and manages to wrap up the all-over-the-place ten tracks relatively well.
A severe lack of cohesion, stylistic commitment, and inability to truly lock into a sound for the brief 27-minute runtime are the main issues plaguing Home Made Satan and obstructing the enjoyment of many of these songs. Despite these problems, the strength and boldness of Williams’ instrumentation play a large part in making the project a solid listen regardless. Also, Williams’ versatile vocals have a unique and innate relatability, which help to cover up some of his lyrical deficiencies. Structurally, maybe a longer runtime, or even a double album, would’ve been helpful in more comfortably exploring the many diverse sounds that Chastity performs very well.
A collection of mostly great songs often amounts to a great album. Chastity’s Home Made Satan is one of the unfortunate cases where a collection of mostly great songs amounts to a confusing, messy and disjointed, albeit exciting, collection of disconnected ideas. Listeners can look forward to Chastity’s next project to see if they can string together more great songs in a more cohesive and focused form.