Since the heady days of 2003, Britain’s
most mannered electro act, The Chap, have had held a sort-of ice dry satire as
their trump card, something the Maels of Sparks or Pulp at their most playful
might have had in their arsenals at their peak. Yet the quirky pop outfit rarely
used that card as heartily as they’ve done on #Well Done Europe#.
For their slickest (but not obvious) album yet, the London-based
outfit weave their usual tangle of synths and real strings (guitarist Johannes Von
Weizsäcker plays cello, bassist Panos Ghikas plays violin) through gorgeously
deconstructed pop melodies whose hooks exit the stage just when you expect
their crescendos to rage. “Unusual but Nice” is a quaint and quietly soulful
ballad, “Gimme Legs” makes a sweet surf sound and “Torpor” is all crinkled-up
dance-centric new wave with a shout out to Hall & Oates no less. “Pain Fan”
too has a sleek ‘80s rock feel but sits down for its electro-chamber pop feel.
But it’s a song such as “Even Your Friend” that defines best
where this Chap is headed with its massive swelling choruses about love and
summer and its bonging church bells that’d make The Association swoon only to
have that chorus take a turns for the worse. You’ll love the letdown though,
trust me. It’s the same thing that happens throughout the bittersweet sarcasm
of “Well Done You” and the hilariously self-deprecating “Nevertheless, the
Chap” – you wait for the goodnight kiss and instead get the silly smirk. But
ultimately, the smirk is more winning and weird and gets you bonus points in
the long run. Well done Chap.
Standout Tracks: “We Work In Bars”,
“Well Done You”, “Torpor” A.D. AMOROSI