August and September Reviews for "I Can't Believe You Live Like That" by Jon Chinn

Vertical Slum (Summer 2004)

Quote: “a slick pop-rock effort, filled with hooks galore…national recognition is sure to follow.”

Full Review:
If there was a Mount Rushmore for the Columbus music scene it is very well possible that Jon Chinn would find his face etched among the most influential figures the city has ever known. Chinn has fronted the eternally fantastic Pretty Mighty Mighty for some thirteen years now and is also co-owner of perhaps the most highly regarded recording space in town, Workbook Studio. He has recorded albums for RJD2, The Sun, Tiara, Miranda Sound, and The New Bomb Turks, to name a few.

Therefore, it only seemed natural that Chinn, with all that equipment and talent on hand, would eventually get around to recording some of his own solo stuff. Over several years of late-night tracking and fun with fellow musically-inclined friends the resulting album, I Can’t Believe You Live Like That (on Columbus’ brand-spanking-new Reverbose Records), is a slick pop-rock effort, filled with hooks galore and Chinn’s signature pristine production qualities. He makes use of a variety of percussive textures, flowing seamlessly from songs with real drums to programmed drums to no drums at all. And the record becomes even more attention-grabbing when you hear the different guest vocalists and musicians adding their specific talents to various songs throughout.

“Stop Being So Dramatic” is an early highlight as Chinn layered on the crunchy guitars heavy with Columbus’ highly acclaimed Tiara essentially playing the role of backup band for the song. The contrasting vocals of Dan Gerken and Billy Peake (both of Miranda Sound) on “Lying Through Your Teeth” and “All About”, respectively, help to make them highlights of the record. And the counter-melody and guitar-interplay on “Last Night” make it my personal favorite.

I Can’t Believe You Live Like That is certainly one of the superlative local releases of 2004 and if Chinn manages to keep up with this menagerie of noteworthy musical endeavors, national recognition is sure to follow. Then who knows, Mount Rushmore can’t be too far off--Teddy Roosevelt better watch his back.

Splendid E-Zine (9/3/04)

“a pop tour de force brimming with cold-water serenades, ingenious arrangements, and fiery guitar rave-ups…the sleeper hit of the summer.”

Charming and utterly unassuming, I Can't Believe You Live Like That is a pop tour de force brimming with cold-water serenades, ingenious arrangements, and fiery guitar rave-ups. After spending a dozen years as a member of power-poppers Pretty Mighty Mighty, Chinn has developed a keen ear for sublime melody. He's at the top of his game here, firing off the cutting opener "Lying Through Your Teeth", and the distinctly Westerbergian allegations of "Record Sets" in quick succession. His sweet, slightly fractured voice recalls both Matthew Sweet and Elliot Smith, as do his vibrant, multi-layered compositions -- particularly as he tiptoes his way through wounded-heart stunners "Stop Being So Dramatic" and "King's Horses".

Perhaps the most impressive thing about I Can't Believe You Live Like That is the way that Chinn sidesteps the major pitfalls that plague most modern singer/songwriters -- trite lyrics, suffocating whining and an over-reliance on acoustic instrumentation. Instead, he roughs up his dulcet confections with cotton candy-on-fire guitars ("All About") and rude blasts of fizzy electronics ("Last Night"). The sleeper hit of the summer has finally arrived -- and just in time.