The Chevin: Borderland
I’ve been playing this album non-stop over the past few weeks and I’m still not sick of it, which is pretty special these days. The Chevin has a sound that is a mix between U2 and Arcade Fire and their debut LP, Borderland, is quite cinematic in scope, filled with soaring guitars, driving drumbeats, and the angelic reverberations of lead singer Coyle Girelli’s vocals. With each listen, new elements bubble to the surface, a testament no doubt to the exquisite craftsmanship that went into the making of this album.
An interview with Coyle last week gave me some background on the recording process, which took place over three weeks at Sonic Ranch in El Paso.
“There was not a single light to be seen,” he says, a much different place from the Chevin’s hometown of Yorkshire. The songs chosen for Borderland were whittled down from a collection of 40 tunes written over an “intensely emotional” six-month period of the lead singer’s life. After teaming up with producer Noah Shain, the band’s ultimate goal was to “capture the energy” of their live performances.
While every song on Borderland is strong enough to be a single, there were a few stand-out tracks. “Champion,” for one, is a pulsating up-tempo song that really plays with the peaks and valleys of dynamics. It begins with a suspended feel in the verse only to build up to a chorus that explodes with energy in the drums, guitars, and lyrics.
“Love is Just a Game” can best be described as a sonic painting. The song itself tells a story lyrically and melodically, however, coupled with impeccable production, the entire piece is filled with texture, from the whispered background vocals to the gorgeous ocean of strings provided by the El Paso Orchestra. It is quite the gem.
“Beautiful World” is by far my favorite song on the record, which is surprising given its simplicity. However, such is the power of consummate songwriting and this tune instantly conveys a message of hope to the listener, with a lyric and melody that seem to be made for each other: “It’s such a Beautiful World/Can we all just live as one and in peace?/It’s such a Beautiful World/And if you want it you just have to believe.”
If you only buy one album before the end of the year, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of The Chevin’s Borderland. I guarantee it will stand the test of time and warrant repeat listens.