Kildare/Dublin gloom-rockers CPNHGN’s self-titled debut album is an intense thing that swoops and swirls in complex ways throughout the whole record. The band follow the same lineage as bands such as Interpol, Editors and White Lies, but CPNHGN have their own distinctive style.
The album opens with Seven Faces, starting out with a siren-like effect on guitars before the drums kick in and the song bursts into life. Full of energy the song races forward before a slow bridge builds into a massive final chorus. Wilkins’ voice strikes with a great emotional intensity, and adds great depth and meaning to the tunes. Time To Disappear is a track shows off the bands love of sharp contrasts within songs, and their skill at creating them. The song starts off slow, then picks up a little before exploding into a powerful chorus. The song then sinks into a quiet section again. This loud-quiet technique is employed throughout the record, and is highly effective, allowing the choruses to impact hard, and without letting the in-between sections to be any less enthralling.
Eighty-Eight is probably the best track, due mainly to the insanely catchy chorus that slides into a ferocious bridge. Wilkins’ voice is so intimate it’s almost as if you’re listening to your best friend. At this point the band’s constant barrage of emotionally-charged songs becomes a little exhausting, but You and I incorporates the use of a piano and this generates a slightly mellower sound, serving as a pleasant change from the heavy stuff. As the album drifts towards its conclusion, the songs become ever so slightly gentler, without losing any of the intensity of the beginning. So Close loses some of the dynamic contrasts of the early tracks, but is still a quality tune with a catchy chorus, with wonderful guitar hooks laced throughout. Start It From The End is the final track, and is an atmospheric song with a sinister drum beat that eventually closes the album. On its own the song is perhaps a little bland, but it serves as an effective full-stop for the album.
CPNHGN is an album that takes you by the hand and brings you on a nerve-shredding journey that is thoroughly exhausting, but very rewarding, with some extraordinary songs. Overall, a highly assured debut.