Rock and roll music, in its broadest sense, found its perfect form long ago. It is also fair to say that within that broad sonic landscape, there is still plenty to explore, new pastures to trample and new musical rocks to turn over. That is why the rock music made today is vastly different from that made a generation ago. But it also has many of the same hallmarks.
And that is what makes Chasing Love, the fourth album from Set Sail, such a neat prospect. It is music made for the modern age. But, it is also music which adheres to everything that made rock music such a viable and lasting sound. The perfect collision point of the familiar and the fresh. Of where we have been and where we are going. Of comfort zones and adventure. It is everything that the modern rock album should be.
Okay, rock is a broad term, and even in this post-genre world, it pays to be more specific. Set Sail sits at a crossroads of alt-rock and metal; they employ plenty of classic rock moves but echo with alternative grooves, and they play with the dynamic balance of sung vocals and screamo deliveries. The riffs are big, but the melodies are accessible. They err slightly on the side of ornateness and technical playing but never let that get in the way of the song. In short, they know what they are doing.
Things kick off with the title track, which lays out their musical stall perfectly, all staccato guitar slashes over tsunami waves of beat and bassline. Epic, stadium-ready and about as big as it gets. And this sets the field for what’s to follow but also acts as a good contrast for their more understated moments, such as Everyday I Fall, which could almost be described as a pop song…albeit one built of titanic proportions. A song caught between pop and a hard place, perhaps? Or the slow-burning majesty of Turn The Lights On.
But their preferred angle of attack is via salvos of big, boisterous, brilliant songs. Songs of epic proportions. Songs that make the listener feel as if they have been run over by a bus full of fans on their way to a hard rock festival. Songs that both kick arse and cut the mustard. Songs such as Ones and Zeros, with its squalling guitar front and thunderous vocals. Such as, Light Fighters is a song built of a classic rock groove that has been fortified with steel, hammered into new shapes and sits upright like the spinal cord of modern heavy music. And songs like the incendiary explosion of Land of the Living.
It’s a great album everything that the modern rock scene needs. Hard and heavy enough to keep the existing aficionados more than happy and broad and adventurous enough to recruit a few new members.
What more can you ask of an album?