The work of New York band The Chordaes is housed within a wiry pop momentum, the kind that bands tend to overlook in their quest for music that matters. That’s not to say that the band creates without a sense of purpose, but it’s simply that their purpose isn’t grounded in some revelatory drive for fame and attention. Their spry and reflexive work speaks for itself, gleaning insights from a vast pop history of experiences and never having to rely on banal sentimentality to make a connection with their audience.
Delivering a blast of self-described “post-power pop,” the band seeds their songs with hints and mischievous pop underpinnings that act as markers for their varied inspirations. They released their debut record, “Touch the Ground,” earlier this year and have been sharing their love of all things pop with anyone within earshot. They work out a deceptively simple way to deconstruct their exuberant musical inclinations and do so in a way that speaks to their comfort and knowledge of these sounds. You can hear this familiarity in the nooks and rhythmic recesses of “Baby Goodnight,” a standout track from “Touch the Ground.”
Evoking the power pop rush of artists like Big Star and Matthew Sweet (or even the skewed pop tendencies of Todd Rundgren), “Baby Goodnight” feels as timeless as it does relevant. Infused within its nervous system is a tangle of classic jangle pop instincts and a more modern production that does more than simply recall the dim shadow of nostalgia. It honors the pop traditions of it forebears while also carving out a nicely divergent perspective on how to approach these sounds from a contemporary standpoint. The ebullience and pop-rock swagger are firmly aligned with the genre’s history, but the band manages to offset these tightly held conventions by pointedly reworking these communal influences. The video, with its vast cityscapes and VHS deflection, seems particularly suited to revealing the lo-fi background and geography that sparked the band’s initial musical wanderings.
“To me, ‘Baby Goodnight’ is our most straight-ahead power pop song,” singer-guitarist Leo Sawikin said. “And the video, with the grainy ‘Super 8’ footage, really conjures up the classic ’60s-’70s feel of the track.”
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.