May 5th, 2008


In which I applaud The Chap

There's this arty London band called The Chap, see. Four of them, a German called Johannes Van Weizsacker, a Greek called Panos who plays keyboards, a girl called Claire and a bloke called Keith. They live in Manor House and they're actually very good, in a Wire and XTC and Talking Heads and Krautrock way. There might even be a touch of Renaldo and the Loaf in their sound. And if you read New York magazine, "the music has identity problems in the best way, sounding like Momus mixed with Morricone".

That comparison might just be related to the title of the lead track from their new album Mega Breakfast. It's called "Carlos Walter Wendy Stanley". It's just some first names, don't get excited. I'm not going to talk about the associations you personally bring to the title. I can't. But you can hear the song on the Pitchfork site, anyway.

It's amazing to me that I hadn't heard of this band until now. And it's amazing to me that they sound so English despite being so European. And I like the poised, proggy, measured, middle class way they sing. And the pointilliste, subtle way they arrange their pieces. There's a lightness of touch there.

They've been around for about five years; here's an older track, I Got Flattened by a Pig Farmer. Which is a funny title. This is them performing a song called Woop Woop live. This is where I really started to get interested:

Here's The Chap's discography, and it's important to note that their sleeves are well designed. Here's a rather extraordinary epic called BITSS!!!:

I like to listen to good music when I'm recording, music that gives me a sense of new formal possibilities, and The Chap make that kind of stuff. Since you asked, I'm right in the middle of recording the Joemus album, there's about six tracks so far, and the latest is called The Jah Wise Hammer of the Babylon King. Anyway, I'll leave you with The Chap's tidily, daintily deranged song Auto Where To: