ALBUM REVIEW: Chain Wallet – ‘Chain Wallet’

Perhaps Chain Wallet’s self-titled debut is far away from aged Nordic tradition, in its sound, but the atmosphere of life in a rainy, melancholy Scandinavian town is vividly illustrated. It could be the lo-fi production, exquisitely crafted by Matias Tellez, but the nostalgia bares the feeling of discovering an old album and reminiscing about times gone by.

Obviously it’s impossible to reminisce to music you’ve never heard before, right?

In the case of Chain Wallet, the music feeds a vivid picture of the picturesque Norwegian backdrop, tainted by heartbreak and afflicted emotions. It’s as though Chain Wallet are sharing their memories to be remembered. Frode Boris’ arcane explanation of the sound reads: “The album is about fragmented memories, unfulfilled ambitions and the quiet whisper of a stranger.” 

This may seem like mystical jargon, but after an initiating listen to the album’s opening three tracks all is suddenly understood. Muted Colours consoles any lingering wistfulness and regret with a sepia riff, whilst the lyrics in Abroad and Pale Memories flash long forgotten images through your mind – not everyone sees the same thing, but the effect of the acutely tuned atmosphere will make everyone feel the same.

Driving and Remnants Of A Night will be the two outstanding tracks for any fan of Tame Impala-esque psychedelia. The combination of surrounding full-sounding guitars with hovering synth fits the bill of modern record collections, ticking all the boxes for most indie European festivals this summer.

The band have themselves down as an indie dream-pop outfit, though the variation of sounds, moods and imagery could split this record across most sections of Spotify’s genre lists. With comparisons to DIIV and Future Islands, as well as a potential C86 worthiness, Chain Wallet are forming routes from the past to the future – building bridges between present styles.

Carrying the daydream lyrics throughout the album is the unobtrusive voice of Stian Iverson, whose reticent vocals (with extra echoed effects, particularly on Faded Fight) channel a confused blend of Ian Curtis and Bruce Springsteen…you heard it here first. The album seems as though a group of ambitious, cultivated songwriters crammed all their favourite albums through a Playdough mould, and were presented with a hazy psychedelic moon shaped form. The result is mesmerising – it’s intimate – but most of all, it sounds amazing.

Chain Wallet will release their debut album on 7th October via Jansen Plateproduksjon.

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