It is said that a change is as good as a rest. For Brighton’s Chappaqua Wrestling, the arrival of new single “Football” is the product of both embracing change, and an unfortunately enforced break from touring. A few short months ago the band were set for a summer of festivals – including the likes of The Great Escape and Truck Festival – but the UK’s Lockdown tied them to the somewhat narrower horizons of the studio, as newly-recorded track Football emerged as something of a change of pace. If “Football” is the sound of a band breaking from routine and being torn from their comfort zone then it does not show, the band gleefully side-stepping some of the nostalgic sounds of recent singles “Plant Trees“, “Is She Happy Turning On Her Side?” and “Early“, and instead leaning into a world of big-hearted, world-weary, understated anthemia.
For the band’s principal songwriters Charlie Woods and Jake Mac, a way of life in which they are pushed and pulled in all directions has generally suited them. Having chased the footsteps of their musical heroes through South London to the North West of England, and now happily finding their feet in Brighton, their somewhat nomadic existence has meant they’ve never long found time to settle, both geographically and musically. Perhaps their willingness to explore where their sound can go is down to their upbringing – they were born into families of opera singers and jazz musicians – or the fact they’ve never chased acceptance into a scene, or that they firmly attest that “no one listens to one style of music.” There have always been multiple sides to the band, so whatever the origins of their keenness not to be pigeonholed, it is fair to say that if Chappaqua Wrestling operate on a coin-toss, then “Plant Trees” and “Early” represented heads, and “Football” lands squarely on a more weighty, sprawling tails.
Adopting a show-don’t-tell approach to songwriting gleaned from their love of literature and painting – abstract short stories by Peter Wild and the likes of Kandinsky and Mattisse are cited as influences – Chappaqua Wrestling are also very much students of fine art and photography, which brings with it a real appreciation and awareness of how best to use space within their music. Brought up on the sounds of Creation Records and The Beach Boys, all of this combines to conjure an era-spanning sound that erupts into blissfully distorted euphoria.
Charlie Woods explains: “On Football we take one riff and develop it layer after layer, and it grows harder and harder as it moves on. On top of all the brutishness is a story of social displacement, and unease in one’s surroundings. The lyrics we recently added as a homage to our teenage years in Brighton, with some of the social-angst of that time. It features our old-Brighton friend and recent band addition John Townsend on the drums, and we feel Football shows a hard pulse from us which hadn’t previously been captured on record.”
Share “Football” on SoundCloud HERE.