London's Chemtrails continue to amaze. Their earlier EP, Love In Toxic Wasteland, reviewed by me here, contained one of my favorite tracks ("Aeons") of 2016, along with a few other pretty stunning cuts. The band's new EP, Headless Pin Up Girl, drops this Friday on PNKSLM, and it is, like nearly everything on that fine label, unique and inventive. It's also a pretty darn worthy follow-up to the band's first release.
The title track kicks things off with that odd mix of styles that has been the hallmark of the Chemtrails sound. The vibe is something like both The Fall and Echo and the Bunnymen circa 1987. And, like so much of this group's material so far, there's that end-of-the-world-thing going on in the lyrics. Call this apocalyptic indie if you will then. The wonderfully-titled "Most Of What They Pour On Me Is Scorn" is also a lovely number, the effect vaguely akin to stuff from the C86 generation but decidedly more direct and less shambolic, to oddly describe it. "Killer Bees" is a disaster movie mindset set to music, New Wave as envisioned by Irwin Allen, while the brilliant "Deranged" chimes around one of the best and brightest hooks that Chemtrails have yet revealed as a band. If "Digitalis" offers a few hints of glam rock, then closer "Forever Watching The Skies", like most of the numbers on the band's first EP, distills the whole appeal of this group into one succinct and spry song: sharp guitar lines and sci-fi sensibilities.
Chemtrails -- Mia Lust (vocals, guitar), Laura Orlova (vocals, guitar), Laura Sumner (vocals, bass), Ian Jubb (keyboard) and Sam Nuebär (drums) -- create some of the weirdest pop you're likely to encounter these days but it's also some of the freshest. Wildly inventive and full of ringing indie-pop, Headless Pin Up Girl furthers the vision of this London group. If it's not as starkly revelatory as Love In Toxic Wasteland, it is every bit as consistent, if not more so. What seemed a fluke before, now seems like that Chemtrails sound coming to fruition. The band are making some of the best, and most unique, indie you're going to hear in 2017. One of the finest additions to the already-strong PNKSLM roster, Chemtrails have delivered something striking and vibrant here. That it's wildly tuneful and catchy is only another reason to love it.
[Photo: Uncredited promotional image]