Album Reviews

Chevelle – Hats Off to the Bull (REVIEW)

I know what “radio rock music” means to me. I’m convinced everybody has his or her own definition of what that may be.  Per my definition, I’m most likely not a fan of this particular genre. I’m not hear to discuss that topic, what I am hear to discuss is good, well written tunes…after a couple weeks listen, I’ve found this review to be necessary.

A push/pull affair with Chicago based band Chevelle has led me here. I’ve always followed such acclaimed producers such as Steve Albini and in 1999 he produced their first full-length album “Point #1”.  Fantastic introduction to a fresh new band, to a large new audience, and I was sold from the first listen…honest, solid and I highly suggest a listen.

Progressing forward throughout their career, natural progression of the music has become friendly to a mainstream style/audience. Not a bad thing, especially for a few extra bucks as artists. Detouring listeners such as myself is enevitable.  Certainly, there’s been memorable moments on particular albums that have helped me along to keep an ear open to these kats.  One quality that most defiantly has held true: BIG, HEAVY and WEIGHTY TONES due to concentrated, focused production on every record. I’m always exhilarated to find those bands that focus on SONIC GIRTH, opposed to simply having loud production due to trendy album mastering techniques of today. October 2011 saw the release of their sixth full-length album, “Hats Off to the Bull”, which has continued a career of such weighty well written material.

Some might say this music is “lazy”, some would say “too simple”. I say: there are some serious SONGS here with the “less is more” writing style and approach, which is always refreshing and necessary.  HIGHLIGHTS: “The Meddler”, “Hats Off to the Bull”, “Piñata”, “Face to the Floor” and the beautiful acoustic offering of  “Prima Donna” have all collectively demonstrated dense and addictive guitars riffs, dominate and infectious rolling bass lines, brilliant lyrics, captivating harmonies (with front man Pete Loeffler’s sister contributing) and hands down some of Chevelle’s most infectious choruses to date. Twelve years into a music career and they give you this…I say, well done….

Track Listing:

  1. Face to the Floor
  2. Same Old Trip
  3. Ruse
  4. The Meddler
  5. Piñata
  6. Envy
  7. Hats Off to the Bull
  8. Arise
  9. Revenge
  10. Prima Donna
  11. Clones
  12. Glimpse of the Con – Bonus Track
  13. Still Running (Live at the Metro) – Bonus Track

-Todd Buller

Categories: Album Reviews