The Chain Gang Of 1974 — Honey Moon Drips (5/29/20)
American musician Kamtin Mohager came across my radar in 2014 with his major-label debut Daydream Forever. His second album as The Chain Gang Of 1974, it held the Grand Theft Auto V-featured hit “Sleepwalking.”
Mohager builds his sound largely around synths and guitar to create expansive musical environments with a driven pop taste and an atmospheric lightness. I’ve always found his music to have a beauty to it but I’ve never found a song that’s more than a casual pleasure.
That remains mostly unchanged with his latest release. It’s a fantastic production of glistening, dreamy, alternative synth-pop. Many of these tracks skirt around these great melodies while just falling shy of hitting on some more substantial feelings.
I love the “INSTRUCTIONS” included on the album’s cover. “This product was created to accompany either (A) BROKEN HEART (B) OCEAN SKY (C) NIGHT DRIVES (D) CINEMATIC MOMENTS.”
I couldn’t agree more. A song like “YDLMA” is a great example of some of the heartbreak pop on this (I don’t even have to tell you what the acronym stands for).
Following track “The Hurt Is Good” manages to hit on the topic of heartbreak with a more cutting truth. It might not be exactly what he was intending, but I take it as an acknowledgment of the almost satisfying pain that is felt when remembering a lost relationship.
It’s easy to get lost in the dreamy melancholy of “Times We Had.” The song sounds like it’s trying to be the soundtrack to your thoughts as you think back on that lost relationship.
“Philosophy Of Love” is one of the album’s biggest hooks. It’s the strongest example of a song that comes so close to greatness but just ends up sounding a little soft, the shouted vocals missing that extra bite.
There are a few on here though that really do pull through quite wonderfully.
“4AM, Still Lonely” is the closest to a piano ballad. The somber keys are joined in the hook by a running hi-hat beat and emotive guitar that creates one of the album’s most mesmerizing soundscapes.
Closer “Such A Shame” is a bit of a stretched out finish to the album but I can’t help but appreciate the effort he puts into building up the final couple of minutes into one last climactic moment that proves quite rewarding.
Queer pop duo TWINKIDS help deliver one of the album’s most compelling moments on “Bends.” The bubbly production is delightful and TWINKIDS join for the post-chorus and push the song into a special realm.
It’s the album’s leading track “Do You Mind?” where Mohager comes the closest to perfecting his sound. It’s the shortest, most straight-forward song (minus the intro and interlude), with focus on a punchy beat, bright synths, and a forceful hook that keeps me the most entertained.
So, as the album cover instructs, this is an album well suited for a broken heart, night drives, and simply staring at the stars.