|I was immediately awed by Boy In Static's ease at playing all his own instruments - more than 15 in some cases - then adding lyrics and mixing them all together to craft his richly diverse second release, Violet. Listening to the electronic pulses, Alexander Chen's breathy-sexy lyrics and indie-rock ballads expertly layered together made it difficult to imagine the 25-year-old behind it all. Chen's ease at playing drums, guitar, classical strings, synthesizers and singing left me admiring him and the 10 songs on this exceptional album.|
Chen strikes the right balance between upbeat electronic samples, charged drums and electric guitar, and the more serious offerings of classical cello and violin. This marriage of contrasts works on several levels, mainly through Chen's ability to layer the right rhythms while maintaining a sentiment on his album of deep inner reflection and personal exploration. The result is a collection of insightful ballads complimented by Chen's deep and mysterious voice, and with lyrics that ask to be taken seriously.
Chen is, for the most part, a self taught musician. He grew up in New Jersey playing viola, piano, and sequencers from an early age, and now calls Boston home. Although a one-man talent, Chen recently enlisted a group of musicians to collaborate with him and bring Boy In Static to life for live shows.
A live show would be worth the sight and sound. I instantly loved "First Love" ad "Where It Ends," which are beautiful love songs lost in the depth of dozens of instruments and samples Chen produces. But Violet does keep from being over-saturated with sound. On songs like "December," Chen mainly taps into his indie-rock side, sustaining steady drums and guitar to create a catchy and energizing ballad.
Others, like "Catching Death," delve almost fully in the electronic, where keyboards and synthesized chords hold steady on a simple, soothing meditation. That song trips seamlessly into the final "Leave You Blind," where Chen once again puts all his talents to use for a dreamy and deeply layered ballad that left me in awe all over again. - Re:Up