Norwegian dream pop band Chain Wallet’s debut album blew me away when I first heard it. Every track was so catchy, so good and it’s an album I continue to listen to at least twice a week. Their follow-up is No Ritual and I can see this being another album I listen to for years to come.
If there’s one word I can say about this album is it’s consistent. It’s consistent with their debut album and that’s great to me. Considering I thought their debut was pretty much flawless, the same can be said with No Ritual. The new album has some songs that feel darker and not as poppy as the first album.
The first track “Lost Somewhere” is a good example of what to expect with No Ritual. The synth-y goodness is all still there, but the songs feel more layered, if that makes any sense. “Final Testament” is a track with a nice blend of pop and moodiness to it. The first song I heard from the album was their single “Ride” and it’s everything I expected from the band. It’s got a catchy chorus & riffs and I find myself singing “I want to ride!!!” over and over when I hear it.
“Closer” is a slower-tempo song but a welcome change to the upbeat songs that fill up the album. It stands out to me because it’s vastly different from the other tracks. There’s a female guest vocalists on the track as well, Chiara Cavallari of the shoegaze band FOAMMM. I like a lot of female fronted dream/synth pop bands so it makes sense for her to guest sing on the track. I’m going to check out FOAMMM now because her voice sounds great. Chain Wallet should have more female guests on the album because it just fits.
What I love about Chain Wallet is of course the vocals from Stian, but also the synthesizer and the guitars. The guitar playing from Christian has a Johnny Marr feel to it, and it really shins in a few songs this album. I particularly liked watching and hearing the guitars live as well. The guitar and synthesizer stand out in the next track “What Everybody Else Could Find.” “Liminality” is an instrumental track that reminds me of Tron: Legacy in the beginning, but then feels like something out of Stranger Things. I think this would be another band that would be awesome at film & TV scores if they ever wanted to go that route.
The title track “No Ritual” could be the best track on the album, but I certainly love “Ride” as well. Again, love the guitars on this song and the chorus is catchy as hell. Out of all the songs on the album, I find myself going back and listening to this one the most. It’s the song that reminds me of the 80s the most, perhaps why I like it a lot.
I thought it might be hard to top Chain Wallet’s debut album but the band has come out with another killer album. Not a bad song on the album and each track offers up something different. I would say my only complaint is it feels too short but perhaps that’s the intent? Keep the fans wanting more I guess. No Ritual is definitely one of my favorite albums of 2019!
Bottom Line: Another flawless album from Chain Wallet!
Notable Tracks: Final Testament, Ride, Closer, What Everybody Else Could Find, No Ritual, World I Used To Call Mine