Happy almost MAGFest everyone! In order to get you prepped for the impending wall of chipmusic waiting for you in Maryland in but a few scant days, and as I am the longstanding president of the Paul Weinstein Fan Club/Bowling League (current membership: myself), it is my duty to report to you that there was a new Chipocrite release last month, and if you haven’t listened to it yet you done goofed. The good news is, we can fix that right now! Grab your fancy headphones, go to the comfiest place in your house/apartment/other domicile, and prepare to rock out to ‘Wordplay.’
‘Wordplay’ is fundamentally different from any other Chipocrite album so far. Says Paul about it: “After releasing three (relatively) lo-fi EPs mainly showcasing my Game Boy-based music programming…I decided it was time to head into the studio to hone and develop a larger, “full-band” sound. The result is this album, 11 guitar-drenched, drum-soaked, catchy but complex mini rock symphonies.”
You may remember my last piece about ‘3P’ – two of the tracks from that made it on here, as well as a few songs you might recognize from live performances, and some new songs as well. As mentioned though, none of these tracks are like you’ve ever heard them before – listening to these tracks after listening to the other Chipocrite albums is like being given deep fried Oreos after having only known Oreos your entire life. Sure, yeah, Oreos are great, and you love them, but then this thing comes along which looks like the thing you love, but is the improvement you never knew you needed and now can’t live without. (ChipWIN is not a licensed medical website and cannot speak to the artery clogging qualities of ‘Wordplay’ – that’s probably just those Oreos, you hooligan.) Seriously though – I’ve always liked the Chipocrite releases, and I’ve loved the live performances, whether it was just “man plays guitar” or “man plays guitar – with accompaniment!” but this is a whole new level of rad. It’s like a much happier-sounding one-man Cheap Dinosaurs, which isn’t a bad thing or surprising, given that Paul is their bassist.
Now as to the actual songs themselves – I’m honestly stuck between ‘Henceforth’ and the eponymous track of the album as to which I love most. ‘Henceforth’ is a concert staple – every time it’s been done at a Chipocrite show, it’s changed in some way – first just Game Boy, then Game Boy and guitar, then Game Boy, guitar and Rekcahdam killing it on drums, but now it truly feels like a complete artistic thought, and while I can’t speak for Paul himself, I can say personally it’s a very fulfilling feeling watching and hearing a piece grow from the original thought into a fully realized piece.
‘Wordplay,’ on the other hand, as the title track of an album often is, is amazing. It is a perfect rendering of the thought behind this album. You listen to it, and you think “Hey, that guy wanted to go out and make an album that’s got Game Boy in it but also a full rock band, but not like those ‘Guchi boys do!” Paul has always been someone with a somewhat softer approach to rock than most in the chipscene – and I’m not talking about “bottle of wine, steak, low candle light and a man in a turtleneck sweater soft rock” kind of of softer, but more of an upbeat, peppy kind of sound without the heaviness of prog or metal driving it. Honestly, the only word that ever comes to mind when I think of Chipocrite songs is “hopeful” – it’s like every track screams “DON’T WORRY – DO YOUR BEST” (no, not like that), and ‘Wordplay’ especially so. While those two are my favorites, all the tracks on this album are great and even if they’re ones you know, you’ll love the new interpretations of them.
Now, I was just gonna leave this here, but it turns out the first Weekly Treats release of the year features Kris Keyser and none other than Chipocrite himself as well, and you would me remiss not to go and check this out. It’s more like Chipocrite’s other work (i.e. pure Game Boy), but hey, maybe you’ll want something to ease you back into “regular” Game Boy music once you finish ‘Wordplay.’
That’s all for now, kids! Be sure to catch Chipocrite and all the other great acts at MAGFest – and if you can’t see ’em live, check the livestream courtesy of Clipstream (thanks Glenn)!