Chief State Rocks Through Huge Sounds and Mega Pop Vocals on Waiting For Your Colours

4.7 out of 5 stars 

Wow. I gotta say, when I started listening to Chief State’s debut full-length album Waiting For Your Colours I was immediately impressed. This is exactly the sound I remember pop punk being back in the year 2002 or so.

It was really close to the first time I heard New Found Glory or Story of the Year. Just bombastic pop punk up in your face with some heavy guitar riffs to get you wanting to jump. So, if you like either of those bands, you will highly likely enjoy Chief State (and I am a fan of all of them to various degrees…I probably like Chief State the most of all though).

Tons of punk fans are going to fall in love with this album, and I don’t blame them. It is one of the most complete efforts I have heard from a debut LP in the pop punk genre. The production alone is insane.

Right out of the gate, the guitars, pauses and full volume vocals on “Continental Drift” showcase exactly why Chief State is a rising band with a ton of potential. It is an excellent song, with tons of sing-along parts.

Team Wiped” starts out with a really heavy guitar part that initially got me excited, but it quickly dissipates once the verse comes in. Oh well, the song is still pretty rad. The song does have a couple of rad breakdowns into rocking bridge sections that would be killer to see live.

The next song, “Out for Me” is a more typical straightforward punk song during the verses that almost gets enough variety to really hit all the corners, but it pulls aways during the chorus to more of a pop song. There are some really killer blast beats on drums that are impressive.

The songs mostly seem to deal in emotional anguish (in the true punk/emo vein of the early 2000’s), and the band is reflecting more on the lessons learned over the years.

Frontman Fraser Simpson has made his way across 3 continents until landing in Vancouver, B.C. to form Chief State, and with the rest of the band - Nik Pang, Chloe Kavanagh, Justin Pham and Joseph Soderholm - they are well positioned to start playing HUGE shows any day now. I would put money on it.

Burning Out” is definitely the heaviest song on the album, and it absolutely would kill in a live concert. There’s no way anyone would be standing still during that song. It rocks too goddamn hard. 

The song was also the first single that I heard off this album, and it got me pumped to hear more from this band. It is so damn good.

While this is a young band (I believe all members are currently around or under 30 years old), they sure know what it feels like to get older with lyrics like: 

“I’m finding out that it’s only getting harder. 
I find it tough ‘cos my body’s getting older 
I thought by now there’d be something I’d be proud of. 
Drowning in doubt, that’s all I ever do now. 
I guess I’m burning out.”

If that isn’t the thought of almost every person over 40, I don’t know what is.

The next song “Losing Sleep” sort of continues on the harder side as well. Always love a good loud song. 

22 Reasons” is the second single off the album, and while this one isn’t as much in my cup of tea as some of the other songs on the album, it is still a rad song. It’s just a lot more POP than the punk side. That’s okay though. I am just an old guy who probably doesn’t appreciate the poppier side of things as much as I used to.

 

The longest song on the album is “Kills the Love, Haunts the Free,” and it is also a lot more mellow for most of the song too. Even when the chorus kicks in, it is a bit more choppy than a straightforward beat to drive a lot of energy. This song is mostly driven by the emotion of it versus the music put into it - a sign of really good songwriting.

As a lifelong punk fan who went through so many phases of punk, pop-punk and so on, this band is a reminder that there is so much energy in this genre that can be tapped in different ways - not just a fast drumbeat and power chords. 

While I personally feel I have grown out of some of the pop punk that I used to listen to, I can’t deny the craftsmanship and raw passion poured into songs and albums like Chief State is putting out. Their music is undeniably good. Whether your personal taste suits it or not is another story, but damn, this band has “it” whatever that is.