Onward Chariots: This Is My Confession
In 2009 a certain band emerged out from the shadows and came forward with several songs that would quickly gain fame. That certain band is Onward Chariots, and their first album, This Is My Confession, is the center of today’s review. Prior to ’08 when the band began forming, Ben Morss (of Cake) had been recording for various indie compilations, using the name “Chariots of Tuna.” Unfortunately, after a move to New York, the project fell apart, and “Chariots of Tuna” was put to rest. Fast forward a bit, and in late of 2008, beginning of 2009, Ben had been playing in the Infinite Orchestra when he, and fellow band members Rus Wimbish, Dan Davine, and Shawn Setaro, collectively decided to reboot “Chariots of Tuna.” One change of name later, a few years, and here we are in 2013.
Before the album can really be discussed, you have to understand the concept behind it. From a not so musical perspective, it tells the story of a boy who falls for a girl of whom doesn’t have the greatest track record. With that said, impending doom awaits him as he tries his hardest to hold on all while justifying his love. Got all that? Good. From a musical perspective, wow! This Is My Confession seems to span across genres, with heavy inspiration drawn from 60s and 70s music. While the album can be as corny as the story that goes with it, the broad range of instrumentation, every piece of complexity, the tiniest details really make up for it in a grand way. This Is My Confession is really an absolute joy to listen to for a number of reasons.
The first song to really stand out is the third track, titled, “Mel Gibson.” It’s hard to figure out what really makes this song shine so much. It has a some sort of indie pop-rock mysticism to it that draws you in as it contrasts the album’s first two far more ominous tracks. Lyrically, “Mel Gibson” is playful. “You were different, on the edge, you showed us how to feel” sounds loving enough, but you have to remember Mel Gibson got himself into a little trouble and Onward Chariots isn’t too afraid to touch on that, “You were the man, I don’t understand, what happened?” Unfortunately, the fun dies fairly quickly. Over the course of the next three songs you’re going to be wrestling with a crocodile named boredom. The problem isn’t that Onward Chariots loses their talent or charm, but each song sounds like it was ripped straight from a compilation of the top whatever most popular twee songs.
The seventh track rolls around, and suddenly that magic is back. “Mama” is baffling. The track is an audio forest of wonder that is captivating. With a well timed and well placed break away from indie-pop, the rest of This Is My Confession goes down smooth. The twelfth track, “I Want Everything,” is a party and you’re invited. A bit of punk leaks it’s way into the track with what seems to be the most distortion and aggression you’ll hear in the entirety of the album. Probably the most important point that “I Want Everything” proves is just how versatile Onward Chariots is. As if to say, “We don’t care what you like, we’re just going to make sure we make something you’ll love,” Onward Chariots adds a dash more of fascination to the album when half electro-pop, half disco song, “Get Me Out of This Party,” turns up and surprisingly, the transition is seamless. It’s frightening how talented Onward Chariots are.
Onward Chariots is a new band with extremely experienced members. They know what they’re doing, these guys are professionals, they’re in charge, they make the music. This Is My Confession is a sixteen song long total eargasm. One could only hope for more in the future.
MP3: Onward Chariots “Mel Gibson”