Rarely are you able to listen to an album and hear, as well as feel, what it is like to be at that show, seeing it live. For music lovers, when we’re not seeing live shows, we are doing the “at home sound experience”. Whether it’s in the car, through headphones, or on the computer, we tend to bring our music with us wherever we go. This experience consists mainly of our own personal composure of playlists and extended listening sessions. We choose songs by our favorite bands and craft a framework for what ultimately may be our dream set list. Or sometimes we use others methods; the shuffle mode, listening to an album the whole way through etc… whichever suits your melodic taste buds. Music fills the gaps and holes throughout our day to day lives, motivating, inspiring, relaxing us, as well as taking us back inside, even if for a moment, that fluttering feeling in our stomachs that raw, alive, pulsating sound from a venue’s speakers to our ears can give.
In this case, The Werks (comprised of members Chris Houser, Rob Chafin, as well as Dino and Norm Dimitrouleas) execute cohesive improvisational jamming into their live shows, which ultimately morphs them into moving set lists. Transforming them as they go along, band members weave in and out of songs, draw them out, or cut them down, filling the allotment of time in whichever manner they choose, all the while using their own personal and individual musical strengths and influences to guide the show along. This gives their shows a dynamic element in which you never really know what they’ll pull out next. So what happens when this band confines their jams to a 9 track studio album? Well, they break down that barrier from the inside out, bringing to you, the closest thing to what a real live Werks show might sound and feel like.
The Werks’ Duck Farm
It’s been three years since The Werks have released a new studio album, giving this self-titled release a foundation of excitement and anticipation for old fans and new. Deeming this one a “super genre”, the band has quite successfully concocted a solid mixture of eclectic sounds and dynamic structures that are ever-present in their respective music scene. Right from the start, The Werks lay down the opening track Onslaught, clearing the path for where the rest of the album will go. A fitting start to the album, Onslaught renders you to its will as the song literally evokes a feeling of the start of an epic downpour of energy and sound, bringing upon you the onslaught of The Werks melody. This track has got a lot of layers, as Houser’s rifts add dimension and diversity to the predictable yet guiding synth bass, and Norm’s organ expands its trajectory further. Dino, the newest member is on this album, and it’s clear that he has most definitely assimilated into the bands’ sound. A great addition, Dino adds new and different elements to The Werks. Also of note, this album definitely scores appreciation points for the complimentary sounds like the thunder and air raid sirens they’ve included.
The album transitions into Duck Farm, a staple of the bands musical repertoire. Most likely you will hear this song at one of their live shows, so it only seems fitting that it be included on this self-titled album. Just as well, it wouldn’t be a Werks show without another one of these tunes, Finding Destiny, Burnin’ Groove, or Hard to Find. When a band self-titles an album, it would appear that their intention is to ultimately convey to an audience what they perceive their overall sound and message to be; so the inclusion of these tracks on the album seems to be a good move for the band, especially for those newer listeners who are just skimming the surface of the band’s persona.
So what’s new and exciting here? Plenty. OG, Galactic Passport, Blast Off, and Golden Shore successfully complete this album in its entirety, reawakening parts and aspects of The Werks that mesh quite nicely with the long time favorites. Rob Chafin, the seam that holds it all together, gets a considerably lengthy spotlight here in Blastoff. He holds up his corner of the stage during a live show, maintaining his role as a directional leader, awing the audience all the while with his “Bonham-esque” solos that shake up the room and everyone in it. So yet again, good move including this track for the live show experience the album gives.
What we end up having here is sort of a converse effect of cohesiveness when it comes to the this new composition. Usually artists will release an album that embodies one overall and encompassing theme or sound etc… and their live shows are scattered choices of songs from their respective albums. The Werks however, are cohesive and concise in their live shows, so while it might appear at first glance that the album is a mixture of dissimilar tunes, in reality the album is spot on, and chocked full of cohesiveness as the ultimate intention is to bring the live show to you… and they do.
Written by Alicyn Lane
OurVinyl | Senior Writer