Onward Chariots - This Is My Confession
Record Label: Skipping Stones
Release Date: Jan. 29, 2013
All's far in love and war, eh?
Not if you listen to This is My Confession from Brooklyn's Onward Chariots.
The album begins with the celestial "Opening," an orchestral introduction that feels more akin to live theatre than indie pop. Towards the end the instrumental (if you can call it that) takes the semblance of something approaching segue and ushers in "This Is My Confession I," a garage rock effort that does little to keep the listener hanging on. But awkward starts happen. Such is the way of things sometimes.
"Mel Gibson," is a sweetly affecting valentine to the much-maligned actor that is sun-drenched indie pop at its finest, a trait shared by its successors, the honeyed "Sisters and Brothers," and the bubbly "I Just Met a Girl." The disc's second half ends with the bright "Mama," an orchestral pop offering that would make Phil Spector blush and the lovelorn "This Is My Confession II," a far stronger effort than the first version of the title track.
The disc's second half is where the magic is truly at. "Forever Never Ends," is hushed and autumnal and seems ripe for an Andrew Bujalski movie, while "You Don't Have To Be Unhappy," is a life lesson for a sourpuss that is lovelorn and feathery. "I Want Everything," is a strange mashup of dance rock and garage rock that actually works quite well, while "How Could I," revisits the lovelorn landscape of "You Don't Have To Unhappy," and marries it with the charm of "Sisters and Brothers." The disc finishes with the self-indulgent "Get Me Out Of This Party," the deeply pained "Stay," and the freewheeling instrumental "Confessions IIII."
But is This Is My Confession really worth revisiting? It's hard to say. From start to finish, its apparent the album is a study in how to navigate a broken heart, but why exactly the disc had to be sixteen tracks is anyone's guess. Overlong albums can still have champion moments and while the disc does have a few, much of it feels forced and overwrought.
The real genius of This is My Confession is that it points towards something theatrical and vaudevillian, bordering on rock opera. Unfortunately the disc never reaches the heights it strives for and falls short in quite a few places. But ambition and audacity are the building blocks of success. There's a good chance the next Onward Chariots disc will knock it out of the park.