Activities in the Chessman camp have been snowballing since announcing their return last December. Armed with a new bassist (Aaron Roberts) and new drummer (Jez Lee); today is the day I’m No Chessman unleash their latest EP ‘Amateurs’ onto the world, and from the first listen it’s sounding quite feisty.
The EP opens with In The Morning, and its upbeat, bouncy piano sets the tempo. The song has a fast pop-punk edge that is on par with Fall Out Boy or Panic! At The Disco. The vocal style of frontman Michael Rockett is bold and drenched in determination. He needs you to believe in what he’s singing, and he succeeds in Like Vampires.
Next is Actors, and we’re transported back to the early 2000’s with a pop-punk/emo guitar riff. It’s a nostalgic offering that is most welcomed. It’s hard to rank these songs in order, but Actors is up there for that reason.
If two singers going at it gets you excited, then the interaction between the vocalists on Tell Tales is worth a listen. The words twist and weaver over, under and through each other, sometimes fighting for domination, but mostly acting as one incredible force. The EP finishes as strongly as it began with the song Alive. It’s an amalgamation of all the elements of the Chessman’s songwriting abilities. It’s got style, swagger and power.
Reading some of the band’s comments in the build-up to the release, you get the feeling this is a nervous return, one they want to make work a) to prove they can still do it, and b) it’s worth it. Well, it’s been worth it. ‘Amateurs’ is a well-balanced set of songs that belong together in the same space. They compliment each other as well as any fully rounded EP or LP. If you’re into fast-paced rock with a dab of piano and chest-pounding vocals, then get on board with I’m No Chessman.