CPNHGN’s debut album is aptly named. ‘Inhale Exhale’ expresses two opposite parts that work seamlessly together. In the same vein CPNHGN have managed to marry two sets of styles and tempos into each fluid track; there’s plenty of contrast to crunch on throughout the album.
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Right from the start of ‘Inhale Exhale’ contrast features strongly, opening track ‘Seven Faces’ features airy paced vocals grounded by a more blocky guitar but as we just settle into the pace a deft change of tone turns the track on its head, satisfying both sides of the pop punk paradigm. While it is an armature the band returns to in the course of the album, it never becomes formulaic and continues to thrill in each track.
‘Time To Disappear’ gives regular CPNHGN listeners a bit of a surprise; a gently throbbing cadence starting us off before sharper guitars spiking through builds us up to the grittier rush of the chorus line. It is also one of the few tracks to be recorded to lead into its successor – it’s clearly a soundscape CPNHGN don’t want us to be brought out of too easily.
The stand out piece on the album ‘Eighty Eight’ begins with a different tack; building up the feisty drums and guitars that scratch gratifyingly against the rich sound of the bass boiling up from under the track. The vocals waft above leading us to their peak before bursting into a confrontational chorus. The tempo sweeps us out again with a more caressing passage to butt against the somewhat stinging lyrics. A gorgeous rumbling mix of bass and drums leads us out of this track which smacks of ‘more’ – you’ll be hearing this tune creep into your head more than once throughout the rest of the day.
A more haunting sound presents itself on closing track ‘Start It From The End’ though it isn’t completely bereft of a coarser blend of instruments at the focal point of the track. A craftily measured beat from both the plucking of strings and the drums underpins the drive of the track. It matches well with the cautionary plea of the lyrics and serves as a change of pace to bring listeners round from the enjoyable onslaught of the previous ten tracks.
As a debut album ‘Inhale Exhale’ is incredibly accomplished. It features compelling use of instruments and Conor Wilkins’ nearly acrobatic command over his voice. The tracks are constantly surprising and brave and it’s easy to see how they would please listeners attuned to a whole range of genres from electro to punk, pop and rock. Despite these many turns in technique and sound they manage to output is something coherent and melodic. This is clearly an auspicious first release for CPNHGN and there will be many eagerly awaiting the four piece’s next move.