by David Haynes (@shooshlord)
Though pop formulas are omnipresent in independent music, this does not make it any easier to write an effective pop song. There’s a fine balance that has to be struck between melody, rhythm, lyrics, and chords that creates a sort of sonic magic. And New Paltz, NY’s Schmave have struck pop gold in their newest single “Chester Cab.”
The songwriting vessel of longtime NY native Avery John, Schmave’s newest record We’re Rowboat People (out May 3 on Flesh & Bone Records) is a record about memory, and how it influences the present. John has an absolutely masterful way of writing that bypasses nostalgia and looks for the human element in memories. In the chorus of “Chester Cab,” John sings, “And your Southern drawl cuts my breath in two / and my Yankee walls rot away now that we’re through.” It’s a lyric about mourning the loss of a friendship or romantic relationship, but it does not come across as overly sentimental or pitiful. Rather, John focuses on the pleasing sound of his old friend’s Southern accent. Musically, the shuffling acoustic guitar chords, drum machine and bittersweet melodies land this somewhere in the territory of Shins-esque folk pop.
When reflecting on “Chester Cab,” John says, “At the heart of this song is the idea of reflecting on loss. The main figure of the song recognizes that the things around him help to fill the void of someone he lost, while those objects simultaneously deteriorate due to neglect and lack of motivation.”