News emerged this week that Chromatics were in fact actually releasing an album. While some fans had every right to be skeptical by this announcement given the five-year saga of Dear Tommy, this was for real. Instead of releasing Dear Tommy, they pulled a Dr. Dre (Detox into Compton) and released an entirely different LP Closer To Grey.
When you first look at the record, it is shorter than 2012’s expansive Kill For Love. That album was a massive and complex record that some felt was a bit of a slog to get through, notably in the ambient sections, but Chromatics have pared things down on this one to just 45 minutes.
The album opens with a song that has been covered endlessly Simon & Garfunkel "The Sound Of Silence.” They capture the haunting nature of the track, while adding a little Chromatics touch to it.
The album covers a lot of ground in its 45-minute span. It feels concise and epic at the same time. There are often long instrumental segments at the end of songs where one instrument shines like a jazz song. On the contemplative “Move A Mountain” the song takes a left turn with a hopeful flute solo at the end. As they did on Kill For Love, there is a softer instrumental, albeit for less long in “Through The Looking Glass” that has a distant feeling of Metallica’s "One" in how the guitar plucks match the distorted synth line.
There are little nuggets that help connect the album. They ask some lost lover to “touch the sound of silence” calling back to their first cover. “Light As A Feather” has a lo-fi, R&B beat type of sound, which then leads into “Touch Red,” which then keeps the same type of beat with searing, distorted synth line at the end.
While the album never comes off as a jolly, happy time, there are moments like “On The Wall,” where it feels more uplifting and hopeful.
It has been seven years since they last released an album, though there have been EPs and other projects in between. A lot can and will change in that period. They have done different things in their life and music has changed along with it. Chromatics have evolved over their seven albums, but they have created a distinct sound that blends modern synth pop, some grittier art pop and 80s synthwave into their own special formula. Their latest offering is a treat to enjoy. Get your copy here.