Atsuko Chiba
Water, It Feels Like It's Growing

Label: Mothland
Three similar bands: King Buffalo/Elder/White Hills

Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. Sunbath
2. So Much For
3. Shook (I'm Often)
4. Seeds
5. Link
6. Water, It Feels Like It's Growing

Anthony Piazza - Drums, Projections
David Palumbo - Bass, Vocals
Eric Schafhauser - Guitar, Synths
Karim Lakhdar - Vocals, Guitar, Synths
Kevin McDonald - Guitar, Synths

Animalia: Several States of Being (EP 2012)
Jinn (2013)
Figure and Ground (EP 2016)
The Memory Empire (2016)
Trace (2019)

Vivianne Roy - Vocals
Amélie Lamontagne - First violin
Edith Fitzgerald - Second Violin
Sarah Martineau - Viola
Camille Paquette-Roy - Cello
Etienne Lebel - Trombone
Nicolas Riverin - Trumpet
Philippe Brochu-Pelletier - Saxophone

Written & produced by Atsuko Chiba
Engineered & mixed by Matthew Cerantola
Additional engineering by Sebastien Perry
Mastered by Richard Addison
String arrangements on tracks 4 & 6 by Gabriel Desjardins
Brass arrangements on track 2 by Étienne Lebel
Artwork by Papernoise

Released 2023-01-20
Reviewed 2023-03-11



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Behind the Atsuko Chiba moniker hides a Canadian band, a quitet that has been around for about a decade and released a few albums during that time. This new album is called Water, It Feels Like It’s Growing, and it hides behind a fairly nice artwork, artwork that kind of tells how the album sounds. I read about the adventurousness, the genre-defying experimental style, Asymmetric yet with seamless transitions, and many things like that. Those are all things that I like, I like fresh thinking, I like bands transcending genres, bands who dare to go their own way, things like that is what makes it worth keeping on listening to new music, the next interesting and great album. Still, experimenting is always worthwhile, but it is no guarantee for success or a good review; so, what about Atsuko Chiba’s latest offering?

It is an experimental album that transcends genres, it has depth, six tracks, it is almost ethereal at times, dreamy is a word I think fits pretty well to describe the atmosphere of this album. It is very varied and has lots of dimensions, yet it is quite coherent to the degree that I feel as though the tracks melt together into one mass – kind of a contradiction, but that is how it feels when listening to the album. It is not an easy album with instantly rewarding hit songs, but it works well as a background album if you want to use it like that. But give it time, and explore its depth and you get more from it. The production is fresh and modern, good, the playing time is very sensible and I would say that it is an album that is very well put together.

It is a good album that has many things going for it, like the great atmosphere, the fresh ideas by a band daring to do their thing rather than just follow the rest. The third track Shook also displays what an exciting kind of music the band can make, music that I don’t always think they succeed with. I find myself thinking that this album is lacking something, an x-factor, something that makes an album great is amiss when I listen to the Canadian quintet. It is good, no denying that, but that little extra that would propel this exciting album into a great and exciting album is not there. I like it, but I will probably not return to it again now that this review is written.

Plus for a band that dares to experiment, and make songs from their own ideas transcending genres etc. It is probably an album worth exploring for you who enjoy that kind of music as I think that some will find greatness here while others find about the same things as I find. Water, It Feels Like It’s Growing is an exciting album, I don’t think that it lives up to its full potential but there is probably potential greatness here – so if you like experimental rock it is one that I think you should have a look at.