The Life of a Punk Rocker
> Be born.
> Kick and scream, fill nappy.
> Learn to walk, school.
> Grow bigger. Secondary school.
> Get into music. Get really into music. Start dressing like fave bands.
> Learn guitar. Join shitty punk band. Suck a lot. Dye hair.
> Keep playing. Suck less. Join new band. Write some songs. Write some good songs.
> Play sold-out shows. Record awesome album. Be ignored by music press.
> Marry girlfriend. Have kid. No time. Quit band.
> Grow old.
Where do Taking Chase fit into all of this?
FYI, the quintet crop up towards the latter half of that list. They’ve done school, learned guitar and have long since mastered the art of ‘not sucking baws’. The Edinburgh-based outfit have been kicking about for a few years, but they’re not so old as to be contemplating calling it quits. At least they’d better not be.
Which would be a damn shame. Because Taking Chase are very good – even if Too Many Stories isn’t quite as good as it ought to be.
If you’re looking to find faults, there’s a lot to fault on the band’s debut full-length. The sound quality’s a bit crap. The opening two tracks are kind of annoying. It’s all over too soon.
But then again, there’s a lot to love about this album. At times it’s inspired. It boasts riffs you can fap to; breakdowns you can break up to and yet emerge from smiling.
Boy/Girl meets Girl/Boy
Too Many Stories is a parable about your partner; it is an allegory for the boy or girl you’re with. If you can put hand on heart and assert that your partner is flawless, you shouldn’t be reading this review: you should be making love to them right now. And then fucking them. And then making love again.
The rest of us mortals could cite 100 faults afflicting our significant others were we so inclined; the size of her ass; the tone of his voice; the way she impatiently clicks her fingers. But you know what?
It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter. Cos for every flaw they possess, they’ve a dozen attributes that make you want to laugh, swoon and cum. Plus (and I whisper it quietly) we’re not so perfect ourselves.
I’m not gonna tell you which emotions I release when listening to the finer moments of Taking Chase (what I do with my spaghetti is my business). I’m just gonna say that if you’re a punk-rock-loving-most-of-my-favourite-tunes-come-from-the-early-noughties kinda guy, you’ll know what to do when you hear songs such as Jaws V or the breakdown at 2:40 on Faith Plus One – and you’ll certainly know what to do on the sensational outro to the album’s closing track, Glory.
Who cares that Too Many Stories sounds like it was recorded in a bus stop? Who cares that Taking Chase end songs a damn sight better than they start them? And what does it matter if my girlfriend has a really annoying habit of harassing me on Google Chat when I’m trying to write music reviews?
If you love something – someone – some band – you’ll readily overlook their flaws and focus on the good bits. I love my girlfriend and I love Taking Chase. If I could marry them both, I would, but I can’t; partly because such behaviour could be deemed bigamous, and also because in wedding the latter, I would be consigning them to the the next stage of life as punk rockers:
> Get married. Have kid. No time. Quit band.
The dilemma that Taking Chase face at this stage in their lives is a dilemma that we all face at every stage of our adult lives. It’s one that was perfectly encapsulated by a legendary Reddit user named TyPower. As he once put it:
Life is… so short.
I remember being a kid in primary school age ten. Our school yard, where we played football and other sports, overlooked the secondary school yard, where old guys aged 15-17 did stuff ‘old guys do’. I remember watching them, slightly awestruck, as they gathered in groups, presumably discussing grown up stuff, admiring them and knowing that I would one day be like them, old, and be fifteen.
A ‘grown up’.
They were so distant. The time gap was huge. The distance, for me, to ever be fifteen was too big to comprehend (five years). It was a gulf I could never imagine crossing. A huge amount of time.
Now I’m 38.
Five years pass in the blink of an eye. I gave up counting years and time passing a while ago. After a certain point it becomes pointless. Time stretches. Years pass.
And yet you’re always the same ‘kid’. That’s something they never convey in books, or movies or on TV. The fact that it’s always the same ‘you’. You get older. But you imagine the ‘older you’ will be some different ‘grown up’ version of yourself. You’re never prepared for the fact that it’s always the same you.
The Star Wars you liked as a kid, the music you headbanged to as a teenager, you still love it when you’re forty. Being forty feels exactly like being fifteen. It’s always the same ‘you’.
At 38, I never counted on the fact that I’d essentially feel exactly the same now as I did when I was fifteen. All the stuff I liked as a teenager I still like now. I didn’t “grow up” in the way I thought I would. I’m the same person. And what scares me the most, extrapolating upon this, is that when I’m eighty (if I ever live that long), it’ll be exactly the same paradigm.
I’ll feel the same way as I always did but the body will have aged. “Strapped to a dying animal” as Yeats would say.
As I inadvertently approach ‘middle age’, I suddenly notice something. I notice something that all people of my age have always been noticing; something young people many times miss. You are always the same ‘self’. The self that never grows old. It’s always you, watching time pass. It’s the body that ages.
And I’m the same ‘me’ as I’ve always been. Right?
Not Enough Stories
Taking Chase aren’t that old. They aren’t even close to that old. But when they do eventually get there, be it in 10 or 15 years’ time, here’s hoping they’ve had a chance to make an impact.
It’s all that any of us can ever wish for; to have a positive effect on someone else’s life. To make a difference. To matter. It’s the reason why I’m writing these words and it’s the reason why Taking Chase wrote the songs I’m writing about.
It’s a sad fact of life that no sooner do we get good at something than we stop doing it.
★ Become a sexual Olympian? Get married.
★ Mastered a skilled trade? Retire.
★ Developed into a wise author? Die.
★ Band gotten good? Split up.
Will Taking Chase find the time to record that killer album, play a bunch of sold-out shows and achieve the acclaim they deserve before IRL shit starts to get in the way?
Probably not, but I hope so. I really do.
Life is so…short.
Too Many Stories, track by track.
1. Good Journey? [PLAY]
2. Saturday’s Best, Sunday’s Worst [SKIP]
3. Faith Plus One [REPEAT FROM 2:40]
4. Jaws V [REPEAT]
5. One More Drink [SKIP]
6. Man Versus Truth [REPEAT FROM 1:50]
7. Treading Water [PLAY FROM 2:30]
8. Fortune [PLAY]
9. Glory [REPEAT LOTS]
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