December 04, 2004

Chin Up Chin Up "We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers"

I gotta hand it to Chin Up Chin Up--their decision to soldier on in the face of overwhelming tragedy is admirable. After releasing a very promising EP, the band had commenced working on their debut album last winter, but on Valentine's Day, after declaring his love to his girlfriend at a show, bassist Chris Saathoff was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Such a devestating and sudden loss would have been an honorable enough reason for the band to retire--but they decided to continue on, realizing that Saathoff's legacy would not live on otherwise. To preserve his memory--and to honor their lost bandmate--the band made samples of Saathoff's bass lines from other recordings and built their songs around them.

It was worth the effort.

We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers is an excellent debut album. The band's songs are tight, with a rhythm that will make your feet move to the beat. With a sound that recalls--but doesn't imitate--the styles ofMoon & Antartica-era Modest Mouse and late period Dismemberment Plan, it's clear that Chin Up Chin Up are onto something good, because their music is Check out the Jeremy Bolen's suave singing on the title track, the cool rhythms of "Virginia, Don't Drown" and "Collide the Tide" and the awesome dance groove beat of "Get Me Off Of This Fucking Island," and you'll be instantly won over by Chin Up Chin Up's charm. Occasionally the album sounds clunky and awkward, but considering the circumstances behind the album's creation and that this is but the band's debut album, you'll quickly forgive any lesser moments.

In fact, you shouldn't even worry about it, because when you get caught up in the music, you won't even notice. We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers shows that Chin Up Chin Up is a very special band indeed, and that overcoming their sadness by soldiering on was a wise decision. An excellent album by a great young band, and I'm glad they're still around.

--Joseph Kyle

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