We profiled them in our Artist of the Week feature a few weeks ago, but today, after months of waiting, Chester French have finally released their sophomore album for mass consumption. A bit different from their debut, Love The Future, D.A. Wallach and Max Drummey took a much different approach on Music 4 Tngrs. For starters, the album is a bit trippier and guitar heavy, elements that weren’t on their debut. Secondly, there are special guests galore, including mentor Pharrell Williams, Pusha T and Travis Barker of Blink-182 fame. Enough of the jibba jabba and lets talk about the record.
The album kicks off in a way that will surprise fans. With meaty drums and crunchy guitars and heavy riffs, “Black Girls” shows a different side of Chester French. The rhythms and harmonies that the band are known for are still present, but this tune shows fans a new and creatively fresh band. Though the song was released as a free download a few weeks ago, fans shouldn’t be surprised about the group’s new direction . If they weren’t before, they certainly are aware of it now. It’s a terrific rock song, yet retains the pop sensibility that Wallach and Drummey are known for and adds a new dimension to an already complex sound.
Another standout is “Female Version.” The song is experimental, combining guitars and synths like New Order and the lyrics are some of the deepest one that Chester French has come up with to date. In fact, the lyrical growth on this song demonstrates how the band has matured in the three years since their release. There’s a little bit of something (deep lyrics, guitars, danceable music) for fans in “Female Version.”
“Interesting Times” is cool, but not as interesting as the acoustic version of the song that follows it. Hearing Wallach singing over an acoustic allows for you to really lock in on his lyrics and for the first time, hear what a stripped down Chester French song sounds like, which is definitely cool.
“Next Big Thing” is another step in a progressive direction. After their first album of Top-40 focused tunes, but it has a much darker feel to it. Not that it’s a bad thing; in fact I’d argue it’s quite the contrary. Hearing Wallach’s vocals along with Williams and Pusha T show each artist’s range as a performer. This is definitely a challenging track for Chester French’s younger audience and the haunting synths could come as a shock to the system.
Music 4 Tngrs is a big step forward for Chester French. This is by no means a flawless album, but it certainly shows signs of growth. Perhaps Wallach was right when he told us that being freed from the major label system would help the band grow, which they did. The songs are more organic and don’t seem as forced as some of the tunes on Love The Future. It seems like the duo are finding their voice and if they continue to grow, Chester French can meet the expectations that made them one of the most hyped bands of the mid to late 2000s.