If you walked by this album at your local record store you'd think it was a collection of spooky sounds and noises from the old Scooby Doo show. The cover is just so strange, cartoonish, and says nothing about the band's music or their warm, rich sound that permeates throughout this album. Vocally, Sam Roberts sounds very similar to Neil Finn of Split Enz which really stands out nicely. Chemical City is a good album that takes you across a familiar landscape of overdriven guitars and soft acoustic ballads. The only difference here is that Sam is a bit more honest sounding than everyone else.
'Bridge to Nowhere' is the second track and contains the soaring guitar melodies of My Morning Jacket, I also dig the quick and busy vocals. 'Mind Flood' sounds like The Stills with it's heavy shoegazer drive, even the title sounds British. The song quickly drops off into a half-time jam that Nick McCabe would be so proud of. 'An Amercian Draft Dodger in Thunder Bay' could pass as a song by 80's band The Call with it's churned-out acoustic guitar strumming and Beatles-influenced rhythms. The entire album spends it's life riding wafer-thin lines between heavy/saturated guitars and 70's-inspired love songs. But it's Sam Roberts voice that keeps it all in check and somewhat original. He sounds earnest and real, like he's been dying to sing you these songs for years.