Less than a year since their debut EP, “Something in the Water,” NYC-based duo Chameleon is back with their second collection of original material, still steeped in the programmed synth ambience of its predecessor, with a bit more of an organic acoustic resonance and nod to glorious rock abandon this time out. “The Monster EP” is that much more realized in scope – a fully fleshed songwriting journey taken by Chameleon masterminds Chloe Lowery and Andrew Ross into the stark recesses of their multifarious influences and dramatic emotional execution. In short, Chameleon is meant to be felt as much as listened to.
First single “Anthem,” for which a video was also shot showcasing the band wandering through their native New York City’s chic industrial debris, kicks into high gear with a single repetitive power chord that underscores the song’s climactic nature. Lowery’s voice hangs in seemingly impossible stratospheric range throughout, yet remains undeniably vulnerable and melodic – the sense that an unshakeable urgency is carried on her back looms large. “Zombie” begins with Ross on lead vocal with a tripped-out whisper (“Once you taste the zombie, she’ll drag your soul to hell”) before an electronica mashup of thinly veiled Jimmy Page-meets-Tony Iommi guitar lines appear, ushering in Lowery’s voice amid scrappy indie rock gurgle.
“Stay Wait” is a beautifully delicate laying bare of a soul – Lowery mourns “your touch is so lonesome I could cry” as she begs a stay-the-course romanticism over seguing AOR thunder come mid-song. “How The West Was Won” is equally as emotive; however, a bluesier direction is taken via acoustic slide guitar and bottomless foot stomp. Ross’ vocal is prominently featured, serving the grit of the song well with his ferocious holler as the perfect counterbalance to Lowery’s angelic strains. “The River” ends the EP with a flurry of sonic textures – nimble percussive elements and shimmering strings bely the eventual shivering lyrical revelation of, “Stars can find you, monsters can find you too.”
An expansive, ambitious collection of artistic musings and gripping melody, Chameleon’s sophomore outing raises the bar for their ever-emboldened musical expressionism.
Chameleon ‘The Monster EP’ Rating: W W W W W