The Chemist’s second EP is a four-dose presciption of pop rock lullabies that should help the band towards a wider mainstream audience. It won’t cure you of any long term diseases but is an easy enough pill to swallow.
As far as years go, 2010 was a decent one for WA four-piece The Chemist. Over the space of twelve months the band signed to Kav Temperly’s Dirty Diamonds label, dropped two EP’s, got a couple of tracks on Triple J (End of July and Lullaby #1) and landed themselves some handy support slots with Birds of Tokyo, Boy & Bear and The Beautiful Girls. They relocated across the Nullarbor to join the Melbourne fraternity and even had time to scratch themselves once or twice.
Their first EP The Wolves’ Howls Shatter The Old Glass Moon was a scatterbox showcase of the different styles they could crunch out, but this time round things are much more focussed. Softer and more accesible than its predecessor, Lullabies is a concept EP of gentle pop-rock tracks based around slumber. The clue was in the title. Lead single Lullaby #1 (Mercy) is the pick of the bunch, its glockenspiel intro and catchy melody making it a natural single and a step towards a wider audience.
When Morning Comes offers harmonies and a glock solo, but like a real lullaby has the potential to send us off to the land of nod. It’s not a bad track, sweet and sincere, but lacks the punch to really make an impact. Sweet Dreams, the ‘dark’ lullaby of the EP follows. It’s a hackneyed tale of things that go bump in the night over squeaking swing sets and spooky glockenspiel. Lyrics such as ‘There’s nothing in the closet, empty as a skeleton’s chest… the creaks are all in your head’ result in an irritating track as eerie and clichéd as a M. Night Shyamalan film. Props to the band for tweaking the lullaby formula but it’s not the sort of track they’d want to base their career on. Fortunately As Deep As Death is a strong closer, a punchy piece of pop-rock with a hint of The Strokes that allows you to forget that Sweet Dreams ever happened.
Overall Lullabies is a step forward for The Chemist. The tracks are confident and the increased focus suggests that the band will make a big push on the airwaves when their debut full-length comes out. They’re not reinventing the wheel here, but as long as they leave the spooky stuff to the professionals, they’ve got the talent and licks to make it at the next level.