Neo-psychedelia and achingly beautiful vocals are the pillars of Chameleon Treat‘s swirling sound, traits they hone on sophomore record Basketpusher. Across the haunting album, the Pittsburgh duo showcases the guitar prowess and pipes of songwriter Andrew Kruske, merged with Jake Edwards’ skittery percussion, loops, and lo-fi samples. Taken together, the listener gets an intoxicating tapestry merging the technical proficiency of Tame Impala with the poignant poeticism and delicate intimacy of Cigarettes After Sex.
“For this record, we set out to make a cohesive and solid set of dream pop tunes, influenced by classic groups like Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, the Cranberries, Mazzy Star, and Spiritualized,” Kruske said. “Underneath this poppy surface, we attempted to inject an interesting undercurrent of unconventional song structures and unexpected instrumentation (like harp, trumpet, saxophone, cello, etc).”
Composed of five protean songs but with a runtime of about 34 minutes, the plaintive record occupies that ambiguous state between EP and LP. Kruske explained that while writing the songs, he was in a strange in-between place in his life.
“I had just finished an MA in literature, and I had a job as an adjunct instructor making next to nothing,” he said. “I was trying to find a part-time job on the side, but the search proved to be near-impossible. I was just feeling pretty disillusioned about my first foray into the ‘real adult world.’ I found a job listing online about collecting laundry/pushing laundry baskets at a local hospital, and I was told that I wasn’t qualified for the position. I somehow made myself simultaneously under- and overqualified for most jobs. As a result, these songs capture those feelings — uneasiness, a bit of insecurity, mild sadness, but also some faint hopefulness.”
The record was recorded and produced by Kruske and Edwards, with contributions from Emily Henley on harp and Luke Faste on trumpet.
Basketpusher is available on Bandcamp starting 9 November.