Reviews November 27, 2018

Single Review: Chess At Breakfast – Paper Crane

by Nate Wilde

Though their name suggests a scene from a leisurely, even mundane morning in the park, Chess at Breakfast is a band that delivers quite the contrary. The Fort Collins-based power trio, consisting of lead vocalist and guitarist Caleb McFadden, bassist Justin Daggett and drummer Mike Davis, have been making waves in Northern Colorado for the past two years with a unique blend of alternative and progressive rock with heavy psychedelic undertones.

Formed in the summer of 2016, Chess at Breakfast are arguably one of the hardest working bands in the area. Along with the release of their debut EP The Gutshalls, the band has played countless shows since their inception, including Radio 94.9’s Toast to the Roast this past September, as well as BandWagon’s 2018 Battle of the Bands, where they made it to the finals. 

Chess at Breakfast’s sound can be difficult to pinpoint, but their influences shine through their music. Picture a nice amalgamation of Pink Floyd à la Live at Pompeii, the smoothly veiled aggression of Josh Homme, and the emboldened, often purposefully over the top creativity of Dean Ween, and you’re in the ballpark. The cherry on top is McFadden’s vocals, reminiscent of and as unique as those of Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill.

With their latest single, Paper Crane, Chess at Breakfast stay true to their blend of atmospheric psychedelia and gut-hammering riffs, seamlessly paired with lyrical themes of despair, angst and fantasy. The band goes on a musical journey from soft and subtle, gradually building with spacey synth leads to an all-out head bang, complete with a Gilmour-esque guitar solo and vocal effects spiced in for grungy flavor. The track ends with a satisfying glam-rock supernova for its climactic finale.

Paper Crane is a testament to Chess at Breakfast’s desire to be original and creative. It’s a clear indication that the band plans to continually progress with their music, showing no signs of slowing down.

Paper Crane premieres via Thursday, November 29. Catch the release party Saturday, December 1 at Magic Rat in Fort Collins, where Chess At Breakfast are joined by Bright Silence, and at The Moxi Theater in Greeley Thursday, December 6 with Chief White Lightning.