Shortly before I left the site I used to write for, I got an email from Matthew Peabody of The Missing Chums asking if I or someone else would want to review their record. I said of course we would, but let him know it may be a couple of weeks before someone gets to it. This was in February. It is now August, and I’m just now remembering that I told him I would still review the album even though I was leaving the institution I had been writing for over the previous eight months.
I don’t even think I have the record on my iPod anymore, becuase I didn’t have it labelled correctly, and it got trashed along with about ten gigs of music that I either no longer needed or didn’t want. Luckily, I realized that the album is up on Spotify, and that I could do a review after all, without sounding like a total dick and asking for a different copy/download code. So here it is, almost half a year in the making.
Let’s start with the things I enjoy about the record:
I love the opening. The first track kicks off with a windchime, and then leads into a guitar playing a nice smooth riff. As it grows louder, we get Matthew sing “Release yourself” and it all feels so dream-like. Is the voice Matthew’s subconscious telling him to wake up and move on? That’s probably a question for him, becuase I don’t know. It’s a good song, though.
I also like that even though it’s basically pop music, it’s very aggressive at times. The drums are constantly driving things forward, never relenting. And when you’re hearing drum machine instead of regular drums, it isn’t that shitty manufactured-sounding drum machine that a lot of bands use. It comes off as natural, and helps fill in any empty spaces.
Peabody has a nice voice, often reaching pretty high falsetto, and his guitar playing is, while not out of this world, quite good. Mike Kegler does a fine job running all percussion instruments. These two have a nice chemistry that plays well on record. Sometimes you hear a song somewhere and think, “What is happening? It sounds like the guitarist is playing a completely different song than the rest of the band.” But that never occurs here. They’ve built ten songs that come together to form, not necessarily a narrative, but a collection running on a theme.
Of the ten, my favorites are “I’ve Got Nothing,” “Yes, You May,” and “Between You And Me.” There are some harmonies on the track “Moving Target,” which was some handclaps away from being a great singalong.
The one thing that I would nitpick on about the record is that there is a lot of exploring left undone. At ten songs, the record barely cracks the 25-minute mark. That’s short. Really short. And I think there are some areas of Out Of The Gates that could be fleshed out a bit more. With two musicians it’s hard to get everything you want accomplished, and I’m willing to give these guys the benefit of the doubt. They’ll be back with another album and maybe that one will be of as good quality as this, but with a higher quantity to enjoy.
For now, you can pick up Out Of The Gates at The Missing Chums bandcamp page for the very reasonable price of five dollars.