Brooklyn has one of my favorite music scenes right now. Whether it’s rock, indie, experimental chants, or some other genre –Brooklyn’s finest have you covered. Hoping to add to the noisy, Brooklyn music scene, Chomper has released their debut album, Medicine Mountain.
Medicine Mountain begins with an explosion of instruments; fuzzy guitars and cacophonous percussion occupy the airwaves, screaming vocals soar like shrapnel through the busy opener. “Hideout 3D” is filled with wailing strings and distortion. It’s an incredibly noisy beginning for an album –especially considering Medicine Mountain gets tamer as time goes on. The follow-up, “I Wanna Die,” is already significantly friendlier. The track lays off the ‘wall of sound’ effect. As the chorus sings out, the second track gives the impression that Chomper is some sort of CKY-inspired, mall-punk band. The album presses onward. The title track is fairly straightforward. It’s a rock’n’roll beat, a few simple guitar chords, and a burned out, vocal accompaniment. Through distorted jam sessions, the band builds momentum.
Chomper has an impressive personnel, a Guided by Voices member (Mark Shue) amongst other notable names; and admittedly, the first half of the album is a bit lackluster and predictable. Many of the tracks draw from punk or classic rock. While it’s nice to hear the fuzz punks invoke their inner Black Sabbath, it’s just disappointing that Chomper couldn’t churn out something more compelling. At the same time, it’s a comfortable listen. Medicine Mountain isn’t some art piece so much as it is low-ego, high-fun rock music.
The second half of the album contrasts the first with a cheerful disposition. “Fuzz Monster,” is a surprisingly catchy track –complete with the fuzz and distortion. The song has an upbeat mood wrapped in melancholic guitar riffs. The next track, “I Wanna Live,” features some jangly guitars for an instrumental interlude. It’s a nice different and while Medicine Mountain doesn’t become perfect from just a shift in mood, it does seem that Chomper writes more listenable songs in this context. There’s something about their relaxed attitudes that makes the latter half of Medicine Mountain golden.
As the album begins to wind down, a couple more tracks pass, and “AKA Pool Boy,” launches a 2-minute jam session. It’s a thrilling addition, but not quite enough. Overall, Medicine Mountain is a quick, fuzz rock listen. The album is good –but a bit barebones. Chomper is a great band in premise, but could use a bit more to fill out their sound and write music that’ll keep you coming back. Medicine Mountain is safe to say the least.