[Album Review] Chairs- Drawn into Mazes
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Release Date: November 1st, 2015
Label: Kinnta Records

Ian Jarvis manages to do single-handedly (with a little help on drums) what many bands out there are failing to do – come up with a solid pop album that is neither too sugary, too dance-oriented or too predictable. He does so by employing some original arrangements, including the judicious use of electronics.

Jarvis also keeps it interesting by providing variety in his synth/sequenced music. So, you get the swirling R&B-style leopards at the beginning of “Long Conversation” before it settles down into a more acoustic guitar-based indie-folk number, the chiptune/motorik work that accompanies the disco guitar in “Mazes”, and the fade in/fade out old school synths in “Cargo Ship”.

Not that it’s all studio floor trickery (actually, none of it is). Fact is, Jarvis composes well-structured songs which are solid enough melodically to not rely on hooky choruses for impact. For example, in the Iron & Wine-like “Constellation Eyes” the easy melody needs nothing more than the odd ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ refrain to propel it along. Similarly, the hazy, psychedelic “Phantom Pains” is essentially one continuous verse, interrupted only by a fittingly trippy keyboard instrumental break.

‘Drawn Into Mazes’ may not be as experimental as 2012’s ‘The Droning of an Insect Wing’, but it is equally varied and interesting. Jarvis’ songwriting and arrangement makes this outing, if anything, even more compelling.