For those looking for a lighter slice of sound, Chapel‘s new EP Sunday Brunch is out now on Rise Records. Amidst a sea of improbable band meet-cutes, Chapel’s origin story stands out for its honesty, with the band born in 2015 out of a Waffle House hangover. But while many a grand plan has been formed at a post booze-up lunch, fewer go on to become reality. Composed of Kortney Grinwis (ex-Favorite Weapon) and Carter Hardin (ex-Nightmares), the indie-pop duo hails from Athens, Georgia. With Sunday Brunch, however, Chapel have released a 7-song EP thoroughly lacking in the kind of soul that music from the American South is associated with….or any other kind.
Their regrettably-titled song ‘We’ve Got Soul’, for which an accompanying video has been released online, simply doesn’t have any. The track feels like it was built out of completely disparate sections, assembled rather than written, to try to create something hooky and radio-friendly. Ultimately, the result is a strangely substanceless collage. “We just want a chance to break the mold / I’m a bougie-ass bitch deep in my bones”, Hardin sings, but it’s hard to imagine anything about the song breaking the mold.
‘Don’t You Love Me’ is similarly concerned with authenticity– a preoccupation all the more curious given the song’s seeming paint-by-numbers lack of it. With clunky lines like “She’s kinda classic, babe, call her Bill Murray / She had me sprung just a little prematurely”, it’s difficult to tell whether Hardin is trying too hard or just not enough. But when the shot’s that wide of the mark, perhaps that doesn’t matter.
It’s clear from listening to the EP that Hardin and Grinwis understand the mechanics of songwriting, the components needed and how to build a song out to elicit a certain response. And Hardin’s voice is beautiful, with excellent control and varied, interesting vocal stylings. Unfortunately, however, a feeling of artificiality pervades the entire EP and cringey lyrics lace otherwise unremarkable songs. If this is what’s on offer at Sunday brunch, it might be worth eating somewhere different…