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Friday, June 16, 2006

LISTENING POST: CD REVIEWS

The Chalets "Check In"


The Chalets are a gang. Like bands ought to be. Their playful, irreverent Irish humor is sharp and sweet, like an ice-lolly with a rusty blade for a stick, as they sing of sex-crazed sentient computers, crap bands and drunken seaside holidays.

Over spiky Sonic Youth guitars and punchy basslines, frontwomen Pee Pee and Pony sing like Debbie Harry on helium, offering pop melodies, cute harmonies and laugh-out-loud lyrics. Sometimes the boys chip in too, playing off the girls like a modern-day B-52's. On opener "Theme From Chalets," a song about failing to woo the girls after a club, Chris and Enda sing, "Oh, come on ladies, you're killing us here," to which the girls respond, "What are you talking about? We came for the beer."

While The Chalets are as kitsch as you'd expect from a band who formed at a Belle & Sebastian festival, their sound is heavy. "Love Punch" delivers lines like "I know you love me but you're f**king crazy" with true menace, a dirty keyboard sound adding grit to a twisted tale of domestic violence. But the prevailing atmosphere is fun, exciting and danceable; bona-fide pop music with poisoned guts. Check out "Check In."



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