When bands start incorporating a multitude of styles, attitudes, and genres within a single record, the result is more often than not schizophrenic. With that said, Champale's 2001 debut for the Pitch a Tent label, Simple Days, does in fact cross a few lines stylistically, but its not as dizzying as their Champale namesake (the notorious malt liquor). Simple Days skates gently through a quietly twisted blend of roots rock, chamber pop, and indie rock all wound together with solid poppy laid-back songwriting. The formula is pronounced clearly from the get go, as the first cut "Hard to Be Easy" sounds a bit like the Afghan Whigs' brand of emotive rock (minus the booze, cigarettes, and testosterone); However, a trumpet line finds its way painting little strokes of color and variation about half-way through the song, killing anymore mention of the Whigs or Greg Dulli (other times they can sound a bit derivative of Jeff Buckley, or perhaps the Pernice Brothers -- but for the most part, Simple Days extends a rather unique overall sound). Where this band really shines, though, is in songs like "Paducah," "Black Telephone," "Dramamine," and "68 Comeback," which slowly build into beautiful arrangements of layers and layers of strings, keyboards, and horns that drone on cohesively and gloriously -- and even if the formula becomes, well...formulaic, each song clearly establishes itself as a finely crafted and auditorily pleasing adventure.
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AllMusic Review by Sam Samuelson