Jon Chorba’s anger is tangible; he’s given it a voice, and he’s called that voice The Liberty Underground. The Scranton native, now living in Texas, has arrived at his debut album by way of snarling cynicism, tunnel-visioned tenacity, and a haunted sense of introspection – it all comes together in a gale force of status quo-irking aggression on “Three Feet from Gold.”
The album, written and recorded by Chorba himself (save for drum tracks done by friend Zhach Kelsch), is now ready to be fully realized by a full live band – which incidentally played its first-ever live gig riding on the receiving end of an emotional crescendo in Sturges – and will no doubt resonate with unbridled empathy from the disenfranchised among us. From the savagely dark riffing that opens a Pandora’s box of misplaced trust in “The Letdown” (“All that I’ve known – watching it go”), to the smoothed out and sweetly sinister Tool-cadenced echoes in the conscientiously objective “Pro Anti-War,” Chorba’s provocation is sharp – his ire intently focused.
As a songwriter, Chorba is also able to keenly plant a supple seed of optimism and subdued realization amid his pain, as he does in “Good Again.” Streaming through a dream-like vocal quieting and cleanly arpeggiated guitar comes the offering of, “Hooray, hooray, the worst is over now / it may not be the same, but it’ll be good again.” Also cautiously buoyant looking through a seemingly outward grungy, mechanized bleakness is “The Year of Deniability,” where Chorba extols the onward march of, “Got through it once, I could do it again / smelling like a rose, nobody knows, nobody understands what the big guy’s planned.”
Just when you think he’s come to terms, though, Chorba lashes out with a critical tongue via the Deftones-meets-Chevelle modern mud of “Moths” (“How easily it is to hypnotize the anemic mind”), and it’s clear he’s not going to be nudged into complacency quietly – his Libertarian philosophy pumping the very pulse of his music.
Enlightened heaviness with a scrappy sense of socially conscious undertone, Chorba’s The Liberty Underground offers listeners a quality headbang without the empty calories.
The Liberty Underground ‘Three Feet from Gold’ Rating: W W W W W