ALBUM REVIEW for "Sometimes We Find Ourselves in a State of Doubt" @ "PitchPerfect.com"
The Fine Chairs is a Hamburg/Germany based band. The band was founded in August 2021 by Sebastian Teufel and Christian Urban. Since then, they’ve released their debut album, two singles and a new album. The band’s musical influences have their roots in British guitar music, from some of the great ones, including The Beatles, Oasis, Coldplay, Billy Bragg, Paul Weller and The Kinks. The Fine Chairs latest release, Sometimes We Find Ourselves in a State of Doubt, was recorded from February until July of this year, in the band's own studio in Hamburg. Drums and bass were recorded on a Fostex G-16 16-track machine and then played into Cubase 7.5. The band used several Warm Audio tone beasts (12) for recording drums, bass, vocals, keys and acoustic guitars. All other guitars are recorded through an old Mackie 8-bus mixer (because they found out the microphone preamps were perfect for distorted guitars). Recorded, mixed and mastered entirely by Sebastian Teufel, the lead singer and guitarist of the band. Contrary to The Fine Chairs’ debut, this album shows the rocky side of the band. It's a journey through a musical universe – from Britpop to ‘70s rock to indie folk and piano ballads. All laid down for your listening enjoyment in just under an hour. With the exception of three songs, all instruments were played by Teufel (vocals, guitars, drums, bass and keys) and Urban (guitars). Lyrically, the songs were mostly written about the ungracious people, situations and circumstances, that surround us on any given day.
The album’s opener “Heaven Knows” is an acoustic/electric indie rocker. Incorporated in between the strong drum/bass rhythms are string arrangements. There’s a lot of modern rock influences, with hints of old classic Britpop. I think you’ll definitely hear Oasis, Coldplay and U2 influences in this tune about not being in the right place at the right time with someone you love. “Ancient Slime” has got a fantastic drum/bass intro and blaring guitar riffs – I loved this song right from the start! I think this has something to do with “slimy” politicians who’ve been in power for far too long. One of this song’s highlights were the catchy bass lines. Next up is “Fadin’ Away” and it features synth/keys additions, a more acoustic guitar presence, a mandolin and a slower rhythm. I thought some of the best parts to this number were the band’s vocal harmonies during the chorus, and the guitar lead sounding very much like the classic Rickenbacker style of the Beatles. “Down” is a tune that’s about ‘dope’ or perhaps just addiction in general. The band’s sound here reminds me of the early ‘80s Britrock of that time, where The Church, Echo and the Bunnyman and The Psychedelic Furs where on the radio 24-7. I frickin’ loved the beginning to “This is Me” – dark and foreboding, like some goth wave number coming from the likes of Sisters of Mercy or the Bauhaus, (well, minus all the gloomy Bela Lugosi stuff). The lyrics suggest a revealing of some kind, as in “this is who I am, take it or leave it” or, “please help, because I’m about to break.” Great song!
“Every Now and Then” starts off with minor chords played on the acoustic and a tight rhythm section. The lead guitar intro is great here, too – such a great sound! Lyrically, this is a tender, melancholic love song about the struggles and fights that happened between two people that love each other deeply. A well-played guitar solo can be heard here. Opposite this, is a happy, bouncing tune called “Living on Lies.” The lyrics are about all the idiocy we see among what passes for “truth,” most notably in the news – “when a bunch of blockheads flood the screens these days.” Stylistically, the band reminds me of that one Oasis song that Noel Gallagher penned and sung – I forget the name – but it was a huge hit during the ‘90s. Next is “Stop Foolin’ Yourself” and this one takes on a more classic, old-school sound. It has that certain blues-ish, pop-rock feel that the Beatles were known for, complete with a crisp, clean guitar sound. The horn section, strings and the organ blew me away – fun additions to this tune indeed. I would recommend listening to this track for sure. “(He’s a) Liar” offers the listener an edgier, hard distorted guitar sound and I suppose lyrically it could be about anyone who is a liar – most likely someone in power, or maybe once was? Style wise, this song reminds me of the harder rocking British bands of the ‘70s. Oh, and for those who love the cowbell, there’s just a little bit of that in here, too.
One of The Fine Chairs faster tunes is “These Little Things.” This song features really great guitar riffs, ride cymbals rhythms and much more. The way this song was written, and its post-punk rock style remind me a lot of Paul Westerberg’s writing (a la The Replacements). The next number “Alive” begins with a super heavy guitar sound – syrupy and rather menacing. Lyrically, I think this song is about coming out ‘alive’ despite all the crap that we often go through in life – “but I got through the night / and I’m still alive.” The band’s last tune, “Breathe” begins with a piano melody and words about being alone among dark streets in the night. Most of the song features just the singer (Teuful I’m guessing) at his piano. But there are also some beautiful backing vocals featured here too, along with added synth accompaniment rounding out the song’s melody. In some ways, this tune reminds me so much of the melancholy songs that Roger Waters wrote about concerning his former bandmate, the late Syd Barrett. A very nice tune to end this album, I’d say.
If you enjoy the Brit-pop sounds of the bands mentioned earlier, Hamburg’s own The Fine Chairs will not disappoint.
SONG REVIEW for "DOWN" @ RadioIndie
With a strong sense of rhythmic vigor driving it forward and rousing spirited performances bringing its writing vividly to life, The Fine Chairs' new wave rocker "Down" is an invigorating listen that is both deftly produced and well-arranged, offering listeners an invigorating blend of 80's inspired new wave and alternative rock styles with strong hints of brit-pop thrown in for good measure. Abundant in riffs and mature in its writing, "Down" is a great piece of songwriting that is both endlessly playable and creatively inspired.
Opening with a particularly peaceful concoction of natural ambient sounds that's soon followed by some gloriously laid-back guitar riffage, "Down" cleverly decides to ease its listeners into the track gently before catapulting them into a more rhythmically immediate affair that combines driving bass and guitar with a propulsive drum beat that gets those energy levels raised and ears well and truly invigorated. With its lively nature strongly established, the entrance of the song's charismatic lead vocal performance further strengthens the track's definite sense of character and plays brilliantly off the accompanying music's energy, this allows for some excellent melodic and rhythmic interplay to occur between the track's various elements and ensures the arrangement always feels fresh and thematically strong.
Target Audience Appeal:
This is definitely a tune for the new wave rock lovers and I'm sure fans of the style will find themselves strongly connecting with "Down".
Artist target suggestions:
Toad the Wet Sprocket, Gin Blossoms, Modern English, The Church, R.E.M. Semisonic, The Fixx, The Chameleons, Counting Crows, Oingo Boingo, The Cars, The Fixx, The Cure,
Song review "Fadin' Away" @ Radio Airplay
Overall Impression: The Fine Chairs have released their new rock tune Fadin' Away. Grooving gently with guitars and drums, Fadin' Away features a laid back rock sound tinted with psychedelics. While the groove stays on the subdued side, the jangly instrumental colors and bright vocals cut straight through and imbed themselves in listeners' ears. The solidity of the music and singing gives way for listeners to bask in the waves of sound. Overall, the tune has a stretchy quality that pulls and elongates time. This is especially prevalent in the chorus, which manages to be incredibly catchy while pulling listeners through an intricate colorful weave. With the release of Fadin' Away, The Fine Chairs provide listeners a chance to dissipate and melt away with the music for an incredibly enjoyable experience.
Strongest Point(s): There are many fine points with Fadin' Away and after sifting through each one of them, I still can't get the chorus out of my head.
Area(s) of Improvement: None, very nicely done. *note* the comments in this section, and the rated boxes below, are not displayed publicly in posted reviews and remain between the reviewer and artist.
Target Audience Appeal: Fans of Pop, Psychedelic, and British Rock will dig Fadin' Away by The Fine Chairs.
Song: Where Are You Now (Review by Zachary Larson/Radioindie Airplay)
Overall Impression: Marking the debut of their new LP, The Fine Chairs have released the track Where Are You Now. Opening with acoustic guitars over a gentle groove, Where Are You Now instantly turns down the energy to create an introspective Alternative Rock mood. The tune breaks down the familiar feeling of bottling up emotions and the risks and thoughts associated with showing vulnerability. By passing the lyrics between vocalists, the tune, perhaps unintentionally, dispels the illusion that these feelings are held individually and reminds listeners that you are not alone. As the tune progresses, listeners are greeted with a fine guitar solo and choruses that flow effortlessly into one another. Coupled with the underlying groove, the vocals and message create a warm mood that is easy to melt away with. If the rest of the LP is as finely constructed as Where Are You Now, listeners will have a new addition to their Best Albums of 2021 list.
Strongest Point(s): The musicianship and fine vocal work in the chorus make for a very enjoyable listen. The high production value should also be noted.
Area(s) of Improvement: Very well done! The recording quality and mix is very good for a self-produced track.
Target Audience Appeal: Fans of Alternative Rock and Soft Rock will enjoy Where Are You Now by The Fine Chairs
Artist target suggestions: R.E.M., The Doors, Mark Owen Coombe, Radiohead, Coldplay, Oasis, Third Eye Blind, The Fray, John Lennon
About The Reviewer: Zachary Larson is a professional touring guitarist and multi-instrumentalist. Getting his start in high school rock bands, he has since toured internationally as a classical chamber musician, in the show band onboard luxury cruise lines, and with the broadway musical Finding Neverland. His recorded work spans from classical works and jazzy holiday tunes, to mind-bending experimental music. His arrangements of orchestral music are published through Clear Note Publications. Classically trained, he holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Denver.
Instrumental Performance/Execution: Strength
Recording Quality/Overall Mix: Strength
The Fine Chairs - The Fine Chairs (review at The Ark Of Music)
Hamburg, Germany based group The Fine Chairs is a brand new group that’s bringing plenty of past experience to the table. Founded in August of 2021, the band is currently comprised of Sebastian Teufel (bass, drums, keys, vocals) and Christian Urban (electric guitar), both previously members of Yellow Jumps Twice and each with decades of experience in the industry. With a name inspired by a saying by Teufel’s mother (“We’ll have guests tonight. Bring the fine chairs!”), this vibrant, eclectic debut album is every bit of proof you’ll need to want to keep this up-and-coming group on your radar.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
This self-titled album opens with Off Your Track, and right away we’re hit with bright acoustic guitars, a warm bassline, and a hypnotic electric guitar riff. Teufel’s vocals are raw and bright, bringing a layer of authenticity and grit to their sound. There’s some nostalgia here, a hint of retro, Beatles-style songwriting and vocal harmonies making an appearance in the chorus.
Strange Days is a great follow-up to the opener, another guitar-led track with steady, easygoing energy. The standout moment on this track is the use of harmony in the chorus – the slightly dissonant, tonally interesting harmony mirrors the sentiment of the hook, “strange days, indeed“.
There are a lot of strong songwriting moments across this project, but there’s some particularly moving lyric writing on Where Are You Now. The soft rock cadence of the track is the perfect accompaniment to the heartfelt lyrics, and the female vocals that join Teufel’s are a warm and rich addition:
“The years they’ve left their marks in my eyes
I’ve learned to see through the lies
People tryin’ to tell me
I sorted crisis out for myself
But now I feel like being left behind
The intro to the driving, gritty rock track Keep The Distance grabs the ear right away, but the electric guitar work from Urban keeps you hooked through the end. The guitar solo at 2:11 is a perfectly simple showing of restraint and skill, and it pairs incredibly well with the ripping harmonica solo that precedes it.
We also love The Walls Come Tumbling Down for its honest, heartbroken confessional sentiment, and For Heaven’s Sake for bringing hints of funkiness to this record.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
I Don’t Mind is a warm, uptempo number that features strong vocal harmonies in the chorus and driving, riff-heavy percussion. Comparisons to newer Mumford & Sons work might be drawn here, with a melodic guitar focus, a growling lead vocal, and strong, well-composed melodies that are catchy and memorable. Top it off with some poetic lyric work and it’s no doubt a stand-out moment on this project:
“Because everywhere could be the place
A place that you’d call home
A place to be alone
Wherever we may roam“
The Fine Chairs may consider themselves a pop-rock outfit, but after listening through this debut record, make no mistake – they are much more than that. A fusion of influences and styles, combined with clear musical skill and tied together with well-crafted songs and a distinct lead vocal makes this group far more memorable than many of their contemporaries. If they can keep up the quality and cohesion found in droves on this debut album, we’ll have high expectations for this promising, talented new group.
Kommentare zu "Strange Days":
"Feiner Pop/Rock! Leicht wie eine Feder und deshalb einfach gut."
"Wunderbar! Super Harmonien! Dafür gerne alles an grünen Sternen was geht. Dieses kleine Solo auf der Mandoline find ich super."
"Sehr sauber und professionell produziert! Arrangement, Harmonien und Gesang sind wie aus einem Guss. Toll gesungen und prägnante Stimme.
Kommentare zu "The Walls Come Tumbling Down":
"Erstklassig. Das Intro allein ist schon bemerkenswert!"
"Hey, sehr gute Stimme und anspruchsvolles Playback.
Da kennt jemand die Siebziger aus dem ff."
"Sehr schöner Song, sehr gut eingespielt. Besonders gut gefällt mir die Tremolo-Gitarre hinter den Vocals.
Guter Gesang und schöne harmonische Auflösung beim Refrain. Klasse gemacht."
Kommentare zu "Off Your Track":
"Klasse Song! Der Hall auf der Snare ist echt old school :-)), aber das bin ich auch, daher gefällt es mir sehr gut, überhaupt der Drum Sound ist sehr gut. R.E.M. kommt einem wirklich in den Sinn. Das Solo auf der Akustischen ist sehr gut gespielt und auch sehr songdienlich, wie überhaupt alle Instrumente sich sehr gut dem Song unterordnen. Klasse Song! Klasse Spiel! Hut ab!"
"Sehr angenehm anzuhörende Gitarrenrockballade, die auf einem der besten Alben von R.E.M. nicht gestört hätte! ;-) In der heutigen Zeit freue ich mich immer sehr, so schöner "good old" handgemachter Rockmusik lauschen zu dürfen!"
"Ein klasse "natürlicher " Sound. Die Drums haben ein spitzen Sound und auch die Byrds ähnlichen Zwischenspiele sind klasse gemacht.
Unspektakulärer Midtempo Song tatsächlich ohne Schnickschnack und das macht ihn echt gut zu hören.
Auch der Gesang mit backings ist genial gemacht."
Kommentare zu "Keep The Distance":
"Schöne Rocknummer mit Blues- und Country-Anleihen. Der Groove gefällt mir sehr gut und man hat von Anfang an Spaß beim Hören.
Handwerklich ist das für mich alles im grünen Bereich und auch der Gesang gefällt mir sehr gut. Die Harmonica macht ebenfalls richtig Spaß.
Klasse Song, bei dem man die Distanz ruhig mal vergessen kann."
"Yes. Very british. Love it. Coole Blues Harp."