REVIEW: The Chairman Dances’ “Child of My Sorrow” is Intelligent, Well-Composed Indie Rock

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If you’re looking for a change of pace from the Americana bubble, The Chairman Dances makes exciting indie rock with innovative lyrical structures. On Child of My Sorrow, songwriter Eric Krewson frequently abandons traditional verse structure, instead writing many of his songs in the form of paragraphs. Thus, Krewson’s songs, rather than taking the more standard form of poems set to music, are more like vignettes set to melodies. For example, the song “Mascot” begins “From six to ten on weekdays, you stood out front of the Chick-fil-A giving samples to kids who were cute. Passed out once from the heat in your cow suit. It was a sad scene—you spread out on the floor, all those kids crying, running for the door.”

The instrumentation is really what makes Child of My Sorrow stand apart from the Americana genre. The shared usual suspects of rock are there—Krewson’s and Luke Pigott’s guitars, Will Schwarz’s bass, Kevin Walker’s drum kit. Some of the instrumentation is shared with roots music—Krewson’s trumpet; Dan Finn’s piano; Krewson, Maria Mirenzi, and Andrew Pereira’s saxes; Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner (Marah)’s steel guitars on “First to Leave.” Where a roots record might have banjo and fiddle, Child of My Sorrow has Maddie Bell’s violin and Ezgi Yargici’s cello. But the biggest difference is that Child of My Sorrow is heavily synth driven, including analog and FM synthesizers and synth bass, with the complimentary sounds of the organ and wurlitzer.

While this album sits outside of Americana, recent Americana albums have moved in this direction. The Sons of Bill and Amanda Shires braved the shores of electronic music within the genre this summer. If you enjoyed their efforts, you should find Child of My Sorrow much to your liking. This is intelligent, well-composed indie-rock deserving of an audience.  Give it a listen, here:  https://thechairmandances.com/

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