Chico Fellini’s publicists compared their new self-titled disc to the music of bands like PJ Harvey, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Pixies, and David Bowie. Strange as it may sound, Chico Fellini somehow really could be a hybrid of those seemingly unrelated bands. They have the musicianship of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the sexiness of PJ Harvey, power of the Pixies, and the flamboyance of David Bowie. And what a sound that combination makes!
Charisma is the word that sums up Chico Fellini, but it’s charisma in a most uncommon sense. Their charisma is like one that radiates from a sing-song transexual extravaganza, in the best way possible. It’s charisma that is slightly out-of-control and deliciously atypical, and wholly the mark of veterans.
Vocalist Christopher Dennison stands at the forefront of Chico Fellini’s charisma, and his voice rises above the band’s energetic and sometimes droning instrumentation. Dennison’s vocals have no real regard for convention, and his manipulation of sound is entrancing. So much so, in fact, that while his vocals can by no means be classified as “pop,” they have the same infectious qualities pop does. They get stuck in your head easily, making you repeat lines as ridiculous as, “You’re hot! Hot, hot, hot, hot!/ And you’re so pretty! Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty/ And you’re gorgeous! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous gorgeous!” without even really caring about the redundancy or ridiculousness.
On this nine-track disc, indie rock dance jams are bridged by classical piano interludes and followed up by sparse piano ballads not unlike those Muse would have crafted early on in their career. With this diverse disc, Chico Fellini sets themselves apart from conventional indie dance rock bands, and they deserve the utmost respect for this feat.