Enter a Google search for The Chemistry Set and you’ll get a plethora of blogs praising the psychedelic pop trio for their warm and swirling sound. Their latest offering, This Day Will Never Happen Again, has fans and writers rejoicing in their melodies and tributes to some of the big sounds coming out of the 60s and 70s. Truth be told, the album has its moments, but it fails to live up to the hype. The best tracks on the album are remakes of classic tunes including The Rolling Stones’ ‘We Love You’ and Del Shannon’s ‘Silver Birch’, which was also featured on their previous EP Alchemy #101. That was a great EP and it pushed the band into the spotlight. But three songs from Alchemy #101 have migrated to the new album. Add the Rolling Stones cover, and you have the best parts. The rest of the album has some snippets of greatness but is short on longevity.
Perhaps part of the problem is somewhat of an identity crisis; a chemistry experiment gone sideways. The band has made a name for themselves by focusing on EPs and ensuring each song has been given ample time to age. It appears, in their attempt at a full length, some songs sound rushed and put together at the last minute. As an example, the opening track “El Retorno” sets an awkward mood and is out of place when compared to their soft, dreamy, delicate echoes. Now while the band has been referenced as borrowing from the classic sounds of The Byrds, The Beatles and a host of others, those elements exist in small doses throughout the album, but fail to produce anything new that is memorable. To add another comparison, The Chemistry Set seem at their best when the overdrive is turned off. The record’s softer, more intimate moments sound like the late 80s Canadian band Grapes of Wrath as evident by the title track (among others). While this is a good thing, those psychedelic sound-scapes get a little lost among the eclectic mix of influences and genres; most of which do not suit them on the full length.
When a band has been focused on producing high quality EPs, but have given birth to a long player with the title This Day Will Never Happen Again, one has to wonder if this statement is meant to foreshadow the future. Other than a Rolling Stones cover and a few interesting odds and ends, there is really nothing new worth diving into. The Chemistry Set is a great band with a promising future, but this is not their greatest moment.