HER - 'Chain Reaction'

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HER - 'Chain Reaction'

Takes you on a journey that will inspire frequent rotation.

Once upon a time, a band known as HER & Kings County were a developing artist under the tutelage of Warner Bros. During that time, they wrote and recorded (as well making videos for) songs like 'White Trash Country Boy' and 'Raise A Little Hell'. After numerous creative differences, ties were severed with the label in order to keep intact their artistic integrity. Rebranding themselves simply as HER, they never missed a beat and immediately started recording and releasing music independently.

Preceded by 'Gold' and 'Revolution', 'Chain Reaction' marks the third album since that insalubrious separation, and showcases the band following their muse with unabated freedom. As a holdover from the days as HER & Kings County, 'Gold' had a significant Country Rock vibe, while 'Revolution' took a much more varied approach by incorporating Pop, Hard Rock, Punk and Electronica. '...Reaction' further expands on the platform established by its predecessors by creating something completely new, unexpected and far from a simple rehashing of earlier ideas. In fact, the much darker mood that permeates this album shows how determined HER are to never repeat their past and their commitment to challenging themselves.

The songs are, on average, shorter in length but no less impactful. HER are able to blur the lines between multiple genres and twist them into something quite unique. The lyrical style stands to be the most apparent change. This time around, the band (and more specifically vocalist Monique Staffile) gives a more visceral performance by downplaying thematic lyrics in favor of abstract, stream of consciousness phrases and short sing-along choruses. In contrast, songs like 'Taking Up Space' and 'Seriously' both feature a beautiful use of satire. 'Sun Goes Black' and 'I Swear' are examples of HER digging deep and really exploiting that darker side with some intensely bitter and despondent lyrics.

The music is focused on delivering a strong groove, while bits of Electronica flesh out the aural landscape on tracks like 'Rock With Me' and 'Futuristic Frequency'. There are so many layers within each song that it's sheer ear candy, especially when listening with headphones to experience all of those subtle nuances. HER deserves credit for going out on the proverbial limb and delivering a fearless album that is sure to garner new fans and please those already familiar with the band. Albeit a much darker one, 'Chain Reaction' takes you on a journey that will inspire frequent rotation.

Brent Rusche

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