Band: Chrome Hoof

CD Title: Chrome Black Gold

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Label: Cuneiform Records

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Release Date: 2013


There are some bands whose influences may be singular and the there are other bands whose influences may be more diverse. And then there’s Chrome Hoof! It is remarkable just how many influences you can hear absorbed into the eclectic musical approach onChrome Black Gold. It’s literally amazing. This British outfit is also an ever evolving group of performers and on this disc consists of: Leo Smee (bass, guitar, synthesizers), Alex Thomas [Squarepusher, Air, John Cale, Asia, Bolt Thrower] (drums), Emmett Elvin [Guapo] (keyboards), James Sedwards [Guapo, Nought] (guitar), Andrew Gustard (guitar), Chloe Herington [Knifeworld] (bassoon, saxophone), Sarah Anderson (violin, viola), Chan Brown (vocals), Emma Sullivan ( Vocoder, trumpet, vocals, percussion), Shingai Shoniwa [Noisettes] (vocals) and last but not least Jeff Walker [Carcass] (vocals). Lots of people, lots of instruments and lots of different styles.


Chrome Black Hoof features eleven tracks, 41-minutes of music that displays influences as far ranging as Yes, Frank Zappa and Mahavishnu Orchestra. The music may remind you of Todd Rundgren’s Utopia in that while there is a tremendous level of instrumental virtuosity on display there is an ever present sense of tune or melody. Also perhaps by the way the band is not afraid of injecting more pop oriented elements into their overall musical pallet. As a listener you go back and forth from something very proggy like the opening “Enter the Drobe” [3:36] or “When the Lighting Strikes” [5:12] to something not proggy at all like “Kestrel Dawn” [1:48] or “Tortured Craft” [4:02]. And yet the overall construction of these compositions, none of which is overly long, betrays a definite Progressive Rock sensibility. The tunes, even the ones that come off as more mainstream are musically arranged with multiple layers and go into directions that are far from the mainstream. So you end up with electronica butting up against grand musical guitar crunch climaxes or syncopated, staccato introductions to tunes that then open up to jazzy blow-outs. Most everything here is pretty up-tempo which gives the album a dynamic energy that rarely lets up.


Chrome Hoof are one of those unique groups, I’m tempted to put them alongside bands like Polyphonic Spree, not that they sound similar but their musical approach does bear some resemblance. This is the band’s fourth CD and the first for Cuneiform. Chrome Black Gold will grab your attention right from the start and if you stick with it, it’s a very rewarding roller coaster ride. By all means you should check-em out.