If you find yourself needing to let out some intense feelings through fast riffs, emotional vocals and finger-pointing-worthy choruses, look no further. Chief State, a band local to Vancouver, BC, has released their new LP Tough Love on March 27th via Mutant League Records.
Their self-described “Rain Drenched Pop-Punk” sound hits you right where you would expect it to, the feels. The seven-track LP is chock full of pop punk punches and self-reflecting lyrics where you can hear musical influences such as The Story So Far and Knuckle Puck.
“Try Hard” is the first song on the record and kicks things off just right by setting an emotional and upbeat tone for the rest of the album. Fast drums and a catchy riff lead into the angsty vocals singing about growth and separation from a toxic person. Throw in a self-reflecting chorus and a classic, lone pop punk vocal, and you’ve got a hell of an album opener.
“Reprise,” which sits in the middle of the album, was released as a single on all streaming platforms and with a music video. This high energy song gave a foreshadowing tone to the upcoming LP.
In an interview with Alternative Press, front man Fraser Simpson gives us insight into his head and how “Reprise” came to be. He states, “Reprise was written about a situation where I felt like I couldn’t help someone I loved. The metaphor of running round in circles and being trapped in a loop is not only how I felt about this person but subsequently the situation I found myself in recently. It‘s ironic that this song has flipped on me but it has been a tough year personally. I hope it helps others realize that going in circles and expecting different results is never the answer, no matter what the question is.” You can hear his struggle, as well as self-evaluation, within Tough Love from top to bottom.
Coming in near the end of the LP, “Choke” slows things down for a minute. Apologetic lyrics, soft chords, and an emotionally heavy voice brings you to a place of deep thought. Just when you think you’ll be experiencing the kind of quintessential emo feels, where you stare out of your window at the rain and second guess every decision you’ve ever made, the song kicks in with a finger-pointing gut punch of a lyric. You can almost imagine being in the midday summer sun at a Vans Warped Tour set, getting ready for the chorus to hit, knowing the crowd is going to lose it.
The album as a whole is everything you might expect to hear in a pop punk album. I look forward to seeing how a small band from Vancouver, BC can do big things.
So, what’s next for Chief State? Well, until further notice, only live streams and excessive hand washing. Their release show intended to be held on April 5th in Vancouver was unfortunately postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Go find the band on Facebook to find out more about rescheduled shows, listen to more music, find some merch or just to say hello.