Chillemi’s debut album ‘With Woman‘ recorded in bedrooms is an intimate retro soundtrack to modern times.
‘With Woman‘ is Chillemi’s moody, intense, sometimes repetitive offering which ambitiously attempts to capture the same timeless spirit as Roy Orbison and Lee Hazelwood but falls a little short of their quality. Chillemi’s vocals recall Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave on some songs, the guitars are twangy and echoing. the organ is spooky and unnerving at times. Chillemi’s film school background is evident in the presentation of the songs which could be the soundtrack to an indie western, or a 1950s rocker film. Kyle Avallone’s provides both production and additional musical input working alongside Chillemi to create a southern gothic template for Chillemi’s songwriting.
This music is best heard on your own without distractions and you probably need to be in the right frame of mind when you are listening to it as it may fade into the background otherwise. When you are able to sit with the music it can grab your attention as on ‘Neon Bride‘ with its twangy guitars sounding like a track from the movie ‘Kill Bill’. ‘Friend‘ is a gentler proposition sounding like a Neil Young Harvest era outtake, ‘Love‘ and ‘Evil Eye‘ recalls Spacemen 3’s/Velvet Underground’s gently druggy rhythms unfolding pleasantly in a leisurely manner
‘With Woman‘ is a solid effort but it is lacking something which would set it alongside its musical influences. Chillemi clearly has good taste and a sense of style but the similarity of the music loses some of its impact on the listener. However, it will be interesting to see what he is able to come up with on his next album.