Published on January 1st, 2018 | by Chris Crash0
Album Review: Choke Up “Stormy Blue” (Say-10 Records)
review by Chris Crash
I was going to start off this review joking about how Choke Up has the numbers of all you emo kids looking for a soundtrack for your solemn Saturday night reflections on life, but hey, that seems to be the literal theme of this album (even down to the specific day). I’m only half teasing, as I think they made something relatable with their new album, Stormy Blue. With very personal sounding and heartfelt emo in the same vein of bands like Brand New and Captain We’re Sinking, Stormy Blue is an album that honestly takes awhile to hook me, but wins me over in the end with its more thoughtful and reflective songs about remembering.
- TRACK LIST
- Saturday Night
- Blue Moon
- Arcade On The Pier
- Roadside Graves
- Full Bloom In Bedlam
- Level Me
- Sunday Morning
This album has a combination of hard & loud songs alongside quieter simpler ones, all of which have a theme of wistful reliving of years gone by. To be honest, most of the more rocking songs were the ones that stuck with me the least when all was said and done. These more aggressive songs more match the style of Choke Up’s previous album and do have their catchier moments (the riff on Roadside Graves is an especially fun melody, and Borderlands is a pretty infections chant-along anthem), but the more quiet meditations greatly overshadow the more intense moments on Stormy Blue. These songs represent the true strength of the album.
There were several tracks on here which did an impressive amount of world building with such minimal content. Arcade On The Pier, for example, consists simply of the lead singer’s voice and two layered guitars with different effects. Listening to this was powerful enough to bring me back to a Long Island town I spent many years, looking over the sea at the ferry pier at night. Fireworks is another standout, as it is another song that vividly establishes a stylish New Jersey style world full of asphalt and diners, and eventually ramps up to the more loud and emotionally charged sound. Many of these songs are on the second half of the album, and actually do a great job in slowly engaging you late in the game for what Choke Up are selling. All of this built up to a slow boil on Full Bloom In Bedlam, my favorite track on the album. An emotional and exciting punk jam, everything about this band’s sound and the album’s soulful theme are in full force here.
Lead singer and guitarist Sam Johnson mentioned in an interview that the album The Heart Of Saturday Night by Tom Waits was in heavy rotation while making this album, and maybe I’m making a bit of a long leap here, but I can hear that album’s theme influences all over Stormy Blue. From the building of a quiet nighttime world where your thoughts run wild, to the songs that are honest in relishing in past days lived. Choke Up ended up making a pretty good album in Stormy Blue with these solid themes, and if anything, will give you decent enough fuel for your own Saturday night reflections.
Stormy Blue is out now on Say-10 Records.
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