CHON have a very special place in my heart.
Back when I was but a mere pleb, it was the triple-attack of CHON, Mogwai and a happy accident while looking for some Falco, that drew me into math rock. It was their impressive virtuosity that enticed me to begin with – my 11-year-old self would gawk for hours at the “epic shreds” and “sick sweeps” – however as I’ve grown, and come to realise there’s more to guitar than 900mph noodlage, out of CHON and all their contemporaries, they remain the only ones I still enjoy to this day.
Probably because CHON approach and balance technicality in a really great way – Instead of spending six minutes mindlessly-soloing like the majority of their major-scale-masturbator peers, guitarists Mario and Erick utilise their skills to craft groove-laden riffs and gurningly tasteful leads – as well as to develop CHON’S instantly recognisable sound; that unique, super-chilled, mathy jazz-fusion which, if you took your glasses off, could easily be taken for some downtempo post-hardcore, yet which, all the same, maintains the potential to be enjoyed on a number of levels.
However, Homey throws a spanner in the works – CHON have taken their aforementioned blueprint and artfully coloured it in…then viciously attacked it with glitter and silly-string: tracks like ‘Nayhoo’ and ‘Feel this way’ deliver hyper-smooth RnB and Future Bass influences, while ‘Berry Streets’ and ‘Glitch’ glow with gorgeous..ahem..glitch-hop vibes and total 10/10 party bangers like ‘Sleepy Tea’ and ‘Waterslide’ lovingly perfect the classic recipe. The band also mess around a lot more with pedals and dynamics on Homey – “Getting weird”; layering and playing around with sound – and in asking bassist Anthony Crawford (Justin Timberlake, Alan Holdsworth, Bill Clinton) to fill in on the album, really achieve an extra layer of musical depth.
Though their progression hasn’t been without controversy, on Homey, CHON prove themselves to be truly ahead of the competition – three masterful musicians carelessly, eschewing stereotypes to produce genuine, original, inventive music.
Side note I: The riff at 2.03 on Sleepy Tea is probably the best of the year so far. Maybe ever.
Side note II: It may be of comedy value to the reader to know that I really, badly hurt my nose while ironically dabbing to Sleepy Tea.