Chandos, a three-piece from Boston previously known as Chandeliers, were busy just minding their own business for the last year or two, performing at all kinds of house parties and self-releasing a couple of EPs. Then, following their recent name change, they finished 2014 by landing a deal with much-respected indie label Carpark. Given that they are now labelmates with Cloud Nothings, it seems, on paper, to be quite the step up from playing shows in front of their mates. A quick listen to their debut album, Rats In Your Bed, suggests they’re in no way fazed.
Their aim was simple: retain the raw and frenetic sound of their earlier material and the energy of their local scene whilst gently beefing up production values by entering an actual recording studio. Mostly recorded over the space of a couple of days (vocals were added later on in their own rehearsal space), they have largely succeeded. The resulting record is intentionally scuzzy and distorted. It’s also full of carefree abandon – nothing here is overthought or laboured.
If anything, it feels like they’re figuring out which paths to take as they run through the tunes. Swim Gym starts as a perfectly solid slab of three-chord rock, but as it chugs along, the complexities gradually increase until it turns a mess of riffs at the end. On a similar note, …Pretty Sure It’s ‘Tang Top’ even manages to find the time to cram in a slowed-down, metally bridge before exploding back into life. That it appears out of nowhere is what makes it so thrilling.
Across all 11 tracks – the most epic clocking in at a grandiose two-and-a-half minutes – it essentially sounds like a race to cram in as much as possible in the shortest period of time. More often that not, that rush comes at the expense of memorable melodies or hooks, but there are still some joyous moments to be found. Feel My Heat is only about 90 seconds long but veers between flat-out punk and noodly math rock with aplomb, whilst Cobra Points is truly euphoric and the most anthemic track by far.
At just 24 minutes long, it’s easy to rattle through Rats In Your Bed and miss out on all the neat tricks they pull off. It demands the listener to constantly keep up and sometimes it’s a battle that is insurmountable. However, Chandos don’t seem to be the kind of band who couldn’t give a damn. They’re playing because it’s a really fun thing to do, and that comes across vividly, even some of the songs themselves don’t quite hit the mark.