Chin Up Chin Up weather the storm and finally meet the elusive dry spell. - Oh My Rockness

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Chin Up Chin Up weather the storm and finally meet the elusive dry spell.

February 8, 2005
The minute I heard Chin Up Chin Up I immediately liked them. They are an instantly catchy band, whose meticulously layered math-pop music sweeps you away to American Analog Set territory and beyond. Chin Up Chin Up create an inviting wall of sound by fusing warm, clean guitar melodies and subtle synths around the typical time/tempo changes of a Midwest indie band. Being from Chicago, they are doing their best to put a fine city back on the music map. The musical talent coming out of The City of Broad Shoulders seems to have hit a lull in recent years, but if anyone is up to the task of re-claiming city indie glory, Chin Up Chin Up can do it.

The songs on their remarkable debut full-length, We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers are laced with both the notes of tragedy and hope. Chris Saathoff, the bassist from Chin Up Chin Up, died last Valentine's Day in a DUI hit-and-run accident outside of The Empty Bottle after seeing The Ponys play. While still very much grieving, the surviving members decided to go ahead and record the album. They built songs around Saathoff's pre-recorded bass parts. The results could have sounded raw at best and sloppy at worst. But amazingly, the album flows with unnatural grace, each track's transitions not only working, but also sounding as if the story couldn't unfold any other way. It's perfect.

Listening to Chin Up Chin Up, you understandably hear elements of sadness. But you also hear within the notes a band moving forward as a tribute to their friend. And at those moments, of which there are many, there's an irresistible urge to tap your feet and bop your head. If that's not catchy, what is? And who knows, maybe they'll lead a Chicago resurgence. After all, Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon can't do everything.

Chin Up Chin Up play Mercury Lounge, Thursday, February 10th.


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