There’s no denying that a lot of Chorusgirl‘s aesthetic sounds like exactly the sort of thing you’d find on the Fortuna POP! label. From the jangly guitars to breezy rhythms, they make tunes that lurch firmly towards indie disco territory. The group was conceived by Silvi Wersing, originally from Germany but who has since relocated to London, and who’d become fed up of being in other people’s bands. After some polishing up of her original demos in Cologne, what they convey on their debut LP is an extremely good knack for glistening and subtly introspective indie pop.
Oh To Be A Defector is pretty good at gaining one’s attention from the get-go. The reason why the post-punk throwbacks Arrows And Bones and We Care About You are both so enjoyable is down to its rhythm section, which provides a sturdy fountain for their jangly mid-’80s The Cure-esque guitars and atmospheric synths. Girls Of 1926 is, lyrically, about as joyous as Chorusgirl are likely to get (it’s an ode to a close friend of Wersing) and makes for the record’s most celebratory song. In fact, it’s the overarching bleakness throughout that makes this a compelling listen. There’s always a sense that under the surface there’s plenty of darkness that, whilst isn’t always explicit, gives it an ominous edge.
They also reach some pretty epic heights on multiple occasions, and they tease out the moments of cathartic released with wonderful precision. The build towards the chorus of Oh To Be A Defector may well last an age but it’s well worth the wait. The way that the beat shifts to something a lot bouncier for the chorus of Shivers is expertly done.
All of this is mightily impressive, but what prevents it from being an outstanding debut is that the band’s willingness to drift in and out of different textures doesn’t hit the mark all the time. This is most noticeable on the longer cuts. This Town Kills, despite having moments of thoroughly enjoyable melancholy, is at least a minute-and-a-half too long. Even Shivers fizzles out a little bit as it reaches its conclusion. In the grand scheme of things, these niggles are easy enough to bypass.
There’s just enough experimentation and intrigue within the 10 songs to make Chorusgirl’s debut one to explore. Chorusgirl aren’t doing anything new but they are a remarkably skilful quartet. It does take a few listens to fully appreciate what they’re trying to achieve. They are constantly teasing until the tension becomes unbearable, and that’s where they strike the hammer blow. It definitely doesn’t work on every occasion, but when it works it makes for a very rewarding listen.