Rose Hill (label)
12 February 2020 (released)
12 February 2020
There is something very disturbing about this album and something rather wonderful too.
ChopChop are a Brighton based outfit consisting of Xelís de Toro -vocals and lyrics, Al Strachan - cornet + electronics + keyboard, Danny Hammond - guitar + keyboard, Ed Briggs - drums + synth and Eddie Haydn - bass + synth.
They sit somewhere in the borders of modern jazz, beat poets, fusion and punk and with the heavily accented (Galician) vocals of De Toro they have a pretty unique sound.
I particularly like the way that Strachan’s cornet carries the riff on tracks such as ‘The Lark’ and ‘This Is Not Your Home’ and the overall moodiness and sense of apartness of most of the music here.
But it is De Toro’s vocals that really stand out, especially on ‘The Lark’ where his deranged paranoia is in clear juxtaposition to the angular jazz or on ‘Building A House’ where he takes on a creepy aspect to his vocal over a horror movie backing.
There is no question that all of the band are exceptional musicians – it simply wouldn’t work otherwise – or that De Toro is a fine poet and that the combination of all these things creates an utterly unique sound.
It isn’t pretty, it isn’t mainstream and it left me looking over my shoulder while I was writing this but the album is bloody fine – essential for anyone with an off kilter taste in music.