Chin Up Chin Up, Parish School | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Chin Up Chin Up, Parish School

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We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers (Flameshovel), CHIN UP CHIN UP's full-length debut, was one of the best local releases of 2004, and I'm grateful the band committed to recording it. Anybody would have understood if they'd called it a day after February 14, 2004, when bassist Chris Saathoff was killed by a hit-and-run driver; instead they made the album using Saathoff's bass parts from demos on four of the tracks. The jangly guitars and Jeremy Bolen's hoarse, sotto voce singing make standout tunes like "Virginia, Don't Drown," "The Architect Has a Gun," and the title track sound a bit like the Feelies with the knobs turned up a notch or two; the momentum created by the rock-solid, up-front drum grooves and the half-chanted stream-of-consciousness lyrics propels each track right into the next. This show is a release party for the revamped version of Chin Up Chin Up's superb self-titled 2002 EP (Flameshovel/Record Label), which includes one new track, two remixes, and a video. --J. Niimi

Ponys and 90 Day Men guitarist Brian Case gets his brood on in PARISH SCHOOL, a keyboard-dominated solo project, but his moody pop songs don't quite have the introspective appeal he's angling for. His debut EP, Alikeness (Record Label), shows a different side of Case than what fans of his other bands are accustomed to, but despite some decent arrangements his breathy, largely tuneless singing lacks the charisma that might make Parish School more than a bedroom project. --Peter Margasak

Chin Up Chin Up headlines, Euphone plays second, and Parish School opens. Fri 7/29, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jon Beasley.

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