The key to effective post-punk in the age of the internet is to give it a memorable flair, something that sets it apart from all the acts trying to recreate the sounds of Joy Division and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Some bands integrate electronic dance beats, some bring out rage, or joy. Chick Quest use recurring trumpet accents, often inspired by the music of spaghetti western films, to create a sense of majesty.
Model View Controller is Chick Quest’s second offering, and — as the title might suggest — it tilts in a more futuristic direction than their first. Beginning with the windy and space aged title track, the album introduces new motifs (that spacey ambiance returns on the pop track “Exit Strategy”) while trumpets and an explosive midpoint keep us in the Chick Quest zone. “Meanwhile,” declares a soundbite at the opening of “The Afterlife” — an album highlight — and narrative structure is created. Haunting repetition of “Give them all an anthem to believe in” works as an emotional thesis to the album.
One of the most notable aspects of Model View Controller is the cohesive and striking use of thematic writing. Themes of being stuck and the struggle to escape are distinct on “Down in a Crypt” and “One Dead End Leads to Another” and are subtly weaved through the rest of the album. Lead songwriter Ryan White experienced difficulties with his visa over the past year, adding an extra challenge to the creation of Model View Controller, and it lends to an authenticity of the major themes. Individual social themes are also explored, such as the critiques of gender stereotypes on “Brand New Crush”, which is expertly reminiscent of the Riot Grrrl bands of the 90s.
But the post-punk remains strong. Bringing angry and political jumpiness on lead single “Savant Garde”, another rolling highlight, the band unleashes energy so well that “Identity Crisis in the Grocery Store” lives up to the Clash classic that the title could allude to.
While spaghetti western vibes remain, the sci-fi references make for a fantastic shift, ending with the effects laden “The Mission is Failing” which introduces a piano line while slow and steady trumpets fill the space. The instrumental track simultaneously summarizes the album and leaves a listener ready for more.