Review: New Kill Chicago well worth the wait

Kill Chicago used the four years that followed their debut album The Grey to deliver an impressive, well-polished effort on The Fix. (Johnny James/AQ)

Just over four years since the release of their first studio album The Grey, Fredericton rock-quartet Kill Chicago make every second their fans have waited for worth it with their stunning sophomore album The Fix.

The band celebrated the release of the album on Nov. 8, with another memorable set at The Capital Complex alongside openers Midnight Vesta and Seas.

The album further polishes the sound the group created on The Grey while maintaining the signature parts of their first album intact.

The album was recorded at The Recordery in Saint John, New Brunswick with Brad Perry at the helm of the production, who continues to show why he has been trusted to bring many albums in the province to life over the years. Some memorable titles such as Weak Size Fish’s Last Lagoon and Joyful Noise’s Cocoloco come to mind.

The band brings a wide range of dynamics to the table that Perry captures perfectly in all 42 minutes of the album. The emotion builds up on every track, which is a thrill the band also creates effortlessly on stage.

The album begins with the track “Another Way to Be” with bassist Matt Bowie and drummer Zach Atkinson locking into a smooth rhythm section while vocalist Greg Webber soulfully serenades you to get you into the groove. It finishes with Bowie and Webber providing one of their many infectious harmonies that pick the energy up and ends the track with a bang.

The track “Moonlight” has a gang of youthful backing vocals, provided by the Fredericton High School Concert Band, where Webber teaches music. Their vocals compliment Webber’s own, washing over the song alongside the plucking of his blues-rock guitar.

Following that is the track “So Small,” which is quite the opposite as it is the longest on the album at six-and-a-half minutes. Webber and Bowie’s vocal soar and peak at a louder volume than at any other point on the record. The instrumentals on this song see the greatest progression as well with huge guitar chords roaring throughout that are paired with a screeching guitar solo from the band’s multi-instrumentalist Dillon Anthony. He also closes the track with an outro of blissful, sombre keys.

The Fix is a collection of songs that sound like the amount of time and dedication that was put into it, something that is a rare find in this era of rock music. (Johhny James/AQ)

Two of the album’s singles provide the most anthemic moments on the record. “Two Drinks Behind” bounces with its memorable hook, with added vocals from The Motorleague’s Don Levandier, that leads into “Made Up,” a track that really picks up the pace of the album.

“Made Up” also features students of FHS’ Recording and Sound Design class screaming on the chorus.

We hit the climax of the album with its lead single “Show Me (Hand to Mouth)” which brings the albums best riffs and melodies. Webber’s vocals are at their most playful with some creative runs, high-pitch screams on the pre-chorus and yet another powerful blend of harmonies with Bowie.

The back half of the record is laced with slow burners such as “You Don’t Like It,” “Flying Home” and “Pull Over.” The band sits in these quieter moments well, supporting Webber’s sombre vocals and lonely, distant guitar.

The penultimate track “Have Not Town” provides one more heavy-rock moment and the band’s best lyrical content with themes addressing the struggle of finding meaning and purpose while living in a rather unexciting atmosphere.

Kill Chicago paid attention to every single detail on this record and should be commended for prioritizing the quality of their art over the quantity of their output. It is a collection of songs that sound like the amount of time and dedication that was put into it, something that is a rare find in this era of rock music.