Review: Tiny Chariots – Into Jet Streams

Tiny Chariots Jet StreamsGreg: First impressions are everything, right? What if they weren’t everything and in the end you find yourself shaming yourself for doubting what could be?

For Colorado Springs, Colorado, by way of Sedona and Chicago, Tiny Chariots (folk name of Philip Robbins) my first reaction to Jet Streams was one of trepidation and slight distrust toward Clay. The nine track releases with a very raw, very analog “We Have Built A Home” which made me think we were in for a long, perhaps slightly novice, haul. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Clay: What’s funny to me is that we both went into this album with that great word: trepidation.  From a structure standpoint ,the comparisons to Neil Young are inevitable and I was never a big “Godfather of Grunge” guy.  Feel free to burn my rock music fan card if you want, but it just never resonated with me.  But being human, we can grow and change our opinions, no matter how strong or weak they may be.

Tiny Chariots, a.k.a. Philip Robbins, has – in nine tracks – made me reconsider decades of indifference to the amalgamation of folk, alternative rock and country that built up my youth. Robbins does not have the falsetto twang of Young, which helps.  From the jump, “We Have Built A Home” incorporates watery reverb and a thoughtful riff that invokes a thousand yard stare that makes me pine for the open road and with no destination in mind.

Greg: Sure, I feel the Neil Young vibe emanating from Jet Streams, but those looking for some gritty raw statement of a record won’t find it here. Instead, there is an analog driven, subtle vocal mix that drifts and wanders in an offset pairing.

Tracks like “Boys & Girls” and “Conquering Songs” best convey the experimental meandering quality the album takes on. But through the seemingly vast reaches from which it comes, it has a draw that is difficult to understand if you have not experienced it. And like Nietzsche said “when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you,” the album’s reflective qualities have an ability to find a place within you and draw out your very own experience. It is relevant on a very personal level.

Clay: You’re right: fans shouldn’t expect a statement of a record, but I don’t think this album is trying to be one either.  It just lives in the ether and fills in the spaces of your consciousness, like an existential road-trip mix.

With all that we’ve said, I think it is safe to say Into Jet Streams is not going to overpower you.  But if you’re looking for some folk that inspires thousand yard stares, either into an abyss or down a desert highway, then head over to Tiny Chariot’s bandcamp page and give this record a spin.  And let us know if it stares back at you.

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