Monday, April 10, 2023

Chisel - Set You Free 2xLP


Numero (2023, Reissue)

I think that most people first heard of Ted Leo as he and the Pharmacists started to gain notoriety.  But for me, I was lucky enough to have gotten on board when his main outlet was still Chisel.  From the moment I heard to opening riff of "Hip Straights," the lead track from their album 8am All Day, I was hooked.  I think that Set You Free had just come out when I had first heard 8am All Day so I essentially bought both albums at roughly the same time.

And as great as 8am was, Set You Free really took things up to a higher level.  The songs were a bit more complicated and you could tell that as songwriters, everyone in the band had grown considerably since the last record.  Yes, there was definitely the mod influenced, Odd Numbers type sound as the ground floor of this record, but there was a stronger indie rock feeling starting to seep in.  The songs were still bouncy, for the most part, but there was a different sort of heft to them this time out.

Numero has reissued Set You Free on double vinyl with some bonus tracks.  I have the original pressing of this, so it was a double dip for me.  The bonus tracks aren't the most eye grabbing, spectacular list of tunes that I've seen.  A live version of "Town Crusher," an extended version of the album's instrumental track, and early versions of two songs, one from the OTS 7" and the other from a split 7" with Velocity Girl.  Only the B side "Guns From Meridian Hill" is a song that's not already on the main album.  But the thought of having it this expanded to the double LP was the real selling point as the original track listing was a bit long to fit comfortably onto a single LP.  

In a real departure for me, I didn't even buy the colored vinyl.  I had some store credit kicking around a place that only had the black vinyl in stock and just figured that I already had this album once, so if I'm going to buy it again it probably makes more sense to buy it with 'pretend money' than it does to shell out new spending on the colored vinyl.  I'm not positive I made the right call to be honest, but as I get older I'm starting to shift more towards having a nice copy in the collection that sounds great versus always trying to chase down the rarest variant.

Set You Free and Chisel as a band have long been favorites of mine.  I was always very happy to see Ted start to receive some of the credit I thought he was due as the Pharmacists thing started to take off, but I always held an extra special place in my heart for Chisel.  I am also very eager to finally get to see them play for the first time in May.  More than anything, what I want to know is if Numero ever plans to tackle 8am All Day or Nothing New and the various singles.  There's a lot of great Chisel music still out there needing the deluxe treatment.  Enough for a proper box set, really.

Chisel - Set You Free:

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