Chameleon Culture will hook you as soon as you hear their debut album “The Universe Is A New Year’s Day Parade”. This is an album that hit me in the gut and instantly grabbed my attention. After listening to the opening song “Here I Am, There You Are” and a few others, I decided I needed to add this album too my collection. After listening to it, I must say that this band is one of the most unique and interesting bands I have ever heard. Their sound is completely their own and every song sounds unique to Chameleon Culture. Few other bands could cover any song on this album and make it sound as good as the original.
Alec Gaston sings in a way that can be angry, alluring, and awe inspiring all at once. Gaston’s vocals sound both extremely seductive and sexy while still containing biting force and personal introspection especially on the songs “Passing By” and “Not Again”. Many of these songs can go from sounding as melodic as a folk ballad to as hard hitting as a hard rock song and as complex as a progressive fusion arrangement.
Many of these songs actually seem like self-contained stories which guide the listener on a personal journey through each dynamic twist and turn. Stunning mutating arrangements come to mind, such as “I Won’t Take It Back” and “Snap Out of It”, which apart from showcasing the band’s closely-knit rhythmic changes and smooth chord progressions, spotlights Alec Gaston’s devastatingly brilliant vocal range.
Gaston’s name comes up often here, because he is no ordinary singer, but one of those vocalists who make a massive difference in setting a band apart from the rest of the pack. The equation could be likened to what Mercury was to Queen, or Chris Martin to Coldplay, Adam Levine to Maroon 5, Chris Cornwell to Soundgarden, Eddie Vedder to Pearl Jam, I could go on, but I guess you get the picture. Quite simply he is a defining element of the band’s overall sound.
Instrumentation wise, many of the songs do dissimilar things and keep it doing it that way, which is what makes each track and this entire album, an adrenaline pumping rollercoaster ride. You never know what to expect, and just where any verse, bridge or chorus may lead to next.
Chameleon Culture tends to never remain in a set boundary, and keep taking the chance of doing something different as soon as the opportunity arises. This allows the various instrumentalists who each play a number of instruments – Alec Gaston (Guitar), Charlie Kendall (Guitar), Chase Potter (Violin), Tony Solis (Bass) and Jamie Howell (Drums) – to explore their technical capabilities and bring their skills to the fore.
There are excellent melodies everywhere and weaving guitar-driven rhythms abound, as Chameleon Culture tie their most essential musical threads into one cohesive strand. This release finds them mixing their finest song-craft with some of their adventurous musical explorations, probably pleasing every corner of their fan-base, and captivating an entire army of new ones. Formed in October 2014, Chameleon Culture is an experimental rock band out of Boston, MA that currently resides in Brooklyn NY.