Album Review: Precious Metals’ Debut EP “Candid Chemicals”

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TROY – On November 11th, Precious Metals released their debut EP Candid Chemicals. What they released is short, but amazingly compelling. If the instrumentation – which has effectively thorough and well-performed arts on each instrument – doesn’t grab a listener’s ear, the vocals definitely stand a chance to. With sounds reminiscent of early 2000’s alternative rock, to 2010’s indie rock, and just a splash of pop, Candid Chemicals really packs a punch, and with just five songs!

Starting off the record is “Jacqueline.” A blazing guitar interlude serves as the intro, and is soon joined by the full band. J. Lee’s vocals are nothing if not unique in terms of tonality and delivery; he has a strong command in his upper register. The song’s arrangement is compelling. Prior to the guitar solo, the guitar, bass, and drums have some nice interplay with one another. During the tune’s bridge, the vocal is affected nicely with some kind of overdrive effect and it serves well to break up the production aesthetics of this particular piece. Afterward, we hear a final chorus, short interlude, and then the song’s conclusion.

Following is the tune, “Sweet Talkin’.” Starting the tune off with a repetitious and chill guitar part allows the listeners a chance to lock into a groove. Before long, the band joins in, sprinkling half-time sections here and there into the mix. This functions as a great way to break up the rhythm, and makes the song more interesting – for lack of a better word – to hear and enjoy. The synths in this track aren’t obtrusive, but rather incorporated in a way that is reminiscent of some great electro-pop sounds of the early 2000’s. The song really explodes just as it ends, with a fantastically written and executed guitar solo.

The third, and title track of the record, “Candid Chemicals,” begins yet again with guitar, though this time around the tone is far grittier. Throughout the record, while the bass and drum parts aren’t overtly difficult sounding, they’re always locked in tight with one another, and this song is no exception. There are times during this song’s vocal that are extremely reminiscent to some pop deliveries from Michael Jackson! While certainly not comparing either singer to one another in a strict sense, the control that White has over his vocals cannot be ignored, and should definitely not be understated.

What’s interesting with “Tequila Dreams,” track four, is the way in which the vocal and guitar part work with one another. Starting off this piece with guitar and vocals, the two coordinate in such a way that create a sort of “train rhythm,” despite the fact the guitar is mainly playing half notes (for this song, notes that take up two beats of the bar). As the drums enter, this overall train rhythm is further reinforced. All-in-all, the song moves at a great clip, and is in many ways a masterclass of how to arrange parts in a way that makes each instrument sound hugely vital to the groove.

Capping the record off is “Independence Day.” This tune begins differently: dreamy synths and keyboard parts. Having different instrumentation introduce a piece was extremely welcomed by this listener’s ears. What’s more, is how the arpeggiated guitar part is simple but placed very well; it’s far more subdued than other guitar parts listeners are greeted with on other tracks of this album. In many ways, the song becomes more and more anthemic as it develops. During the latter half, a refrain is repeated several times, before the drums crescendo and the song hits its peak. Following this, we hear a brief fade out before one more powerful chorus to close out the song and thus the record.

I really enjoy Candid Chemicals. It works to be powerful in all the right ways, while paying special mind not to go “over the top” with any particular instrument. It’s perfectly balanced with groove, skill, and songwriting abilities while never daring to be overtly flashy. In this sense, it’s a testament to J. Lee White’s maturity as a songwriter and a performer. Fans of alt-rock, indie, and pop should check this record out! Support the artist and the record by clicking the link here.

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