Rats in Your Bed


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Rats in Your Bed Review

by Fred Thomas

Greater Boston area indie trio Chandos formed in the beginning of the 2010s, but you couldn't tell from a cursory listen to their debut album, Rats in Your Bed. The band's songs, made up of roughly recorded angular guitar riffs, shouting vocals, and generally explosive tempos, sound right out of the mid-'90s underground rock circuit, melding the best moments of guitar-heavy slacker pop with Chandos' own brand of howling songwriting and complex composition. Blazing by in just over 20 minutes, the 11 songs that make up Rats in Your Bed showcase the band in its rawest state, with no-frills production consisting mostly of live-sounding performances with minimal overdubs. This direct approach works best for the band. Fast-paced tunes like "Cobra Points" and "Swim Gym" are filled with so many off-kilter twists and complex guitar breakdowns there's not a lot of room for gratuitous overdubs. While Chandos take their songs out of strict throwback territory with unexpected song structures and compositions that border on math rock at times, all of the building blocks are straight outta the '90s. Vocalist Dan Coulson sounds like an even more tortured Lou Barlow on tracks like "Drug Bros," while the guitar acrobatics on tunes like "CREEPWOLF" and "Everyone's an Expert" bring to mind both the musical equations of bands like Polvo and Breadwinner and the more melodic wandering leads signature to Dinosaur Jr.'s sound. There are even hints of winsome melody à la Superchunk on more soft-edged tunes like "Temperance." The sounds are familiar without being remarkably derivative. More than anything, Chandos' visceral delivery makes the album clip along, gelling into a powerful performance that demands more attention than any of its possible reference points.

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