Chastity Belt


Dear readers, I have recently returned from Poland’s absolutely unbelievable electronic music festival Unsound, and it’s fair to say my brain is slightly addled. Five days of 5am finishes, dancing the night away in a disused brutalist hotel in the middle of Krakow to some of the most exciting, cutting edge electronic music around has taken its toll, and I am in need of some serious TLC. I do not want to leave my sofa this evening to make the relatively short trip to Yes, to be honest just don’t want to leave the house to do much full stop. I want to watch Call Me By Your Name on Netflix and bask in the glory of 1980s Italy whilst simultaneously feeling incredibly sorry for myself. But, such is my dedication to the musics, I make the brave journey into town to come and see Chastity Belt, who have just released one of the best albums of the year.

Their new self titled album is a vibe. A chilled, hazy, mellow, comforting vibe, and fuck me if it’s actually completely what I needed to soothe my fried synapses. Made up of Julia Shapiro, Lydia Lund, Annie Truscott and Gretchen Grimm (incredible name), the quartet have progressed from snappy pop-punk albums on their first two efforts to something more thoughtful and *whispers* mature on their last two albums, the previously mentioned new self titled, and their incredible 2017 album I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone. It’s their self titled they are here to treat us to tonight, and it’s just so wonderful. They play the majority of the album, opening with the gorgeous ‘It Takes Time’, Shapiro’s laid back vocal style almost blending into the mix to create a kind of quiet shoegazey vibe that immediately calms my senses and makes me realise that this is the best place to be tonight, not on my couch watching Timothée Chalament shag a peach.

Highlights of the new album tonight include the stunning ‘Ann’s Jam’, the opener to the LP, with its lyrics looking back to “driving south in your parents car / singing aloud to scratched CDs / feeling meaningful / thinking ‘this is a start’”, a picture of a simpler time sung to a simple melody that makes you long for endless summers when nothing mattered so much as going somewhere with your mates in a borrowed car. ‘Elena’ is all slightly off key and woozy, backing vocals drifting in and out behind Shapiro like snippets of a dream, and ‘Drown’ is just a such lovely jam. They look like they’re having a great time too; at one point Grimm and Shapiro swap places between drums and vocals and towards the end of the song Grimm has a full laughing fit and can’t finish the song, “this has never happened to me, it’s Manchester man, such a zany vibe,” telling us “it’s not drugs honestly, unless you count red bull?”

Towards the end of the set they dip into their exceptional back catalogue to move up a gear out of Chastity Belt’s mellower vibe. ‘I Used To’ and the still absolute jam and fan favourite (well, this fan anyway) ‘Different Now’ get the crowd moving, before the epic ‘Pissed Pants’ finishes things off. I assume there won’t be an encore as the merch stall turns on its lights behind us, but they’re not quite done yet, coming out for a barnstorming one-two of ‘Seattle Party’ from their debut album, and a thrilling ‘Joke’ from their 2nd effort, which finishes with about three mins of brilliant guitar work, some of which reminds me of the ending to LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Home’, its a grin inducing ending to what has been a perfect remedy to my Unsound blues. Cheers ladies, you’ve been the best medicine.

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