Chico Fellini – Self-Titled Album Review

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.

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Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

In 2017, Vee released the narrative short film, Searching Skies — which touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States — and co-organized The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. 2022 sees the release of their next short film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature film.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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