New Audio: The Dramatic, 80s Synth Sounds of Joshua Tree, CA’s Chelan



Initially comprised of founding duo Jennifer Grady, a classical music teacher and Justin Hosford, a film and tv music composer, the Joshua Tree, CA-based duo Chelan (pronounced sh-lan) can trace their origins back to 2007. And since their formation, the duo released three full-length albums that the band’s founding members have described in press notes as a “mostly electronic, subdued, indie aesthetic;” however, last year, the duo recruited Chad Austinson (drums) to further flesh out their sound and as the newly formed trio began writing, performing, revision and recording the material that would wind up comprising their soon-to-released, fourth full-length album Vultures, the band’s sound went through a change of sonic direction as the trio’s sound began to employ the use of analog synths, guitar, drums, cello and piano to create a lush, wall of sound-like sound as you’ll hear on the album’s latest single “Beams.”

In the case of “Beams,” the trio layers of pairs jagged synth stabs, propulsive, motorik-like groove, Grady’s ethereal vocals, which bear a bit of a resemblance to Kate Bush, and shimmering guitar chords in a cinematic, lush and urgently swooning song that lyrically focuses on both the desire to connect with someone and the difficulties to connection once you consider the weight of one’s past and how it impacts their present.