Joe Chester
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Joe Chester

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Solo Alternative

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Nov
04
Joe Chester @ Vicar Street

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland

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Music

Press


Joe Chester may be best known for his production work on albums by The Coronas, Ryan Sheridan and Mundy, but his solo work is distinguished by a rare intelligence and attention to detail. And so it proves on his fourth album (arriving barely ten months since his last release), which is as intriguing as it is enjoyable. The opening instrumental, 'Love Pouring Down Like Gravity", with its repeated loop, is a hypnotic, trance-like tune that someone like Massive Attack certainly wouldn't have kicked out of bed. For its part, 'Subway' is a more Eno-inspired sound collage than a song in itself. While there is always an experimental undercurrent of this kind at play within his work, he has an ear for a memorable hook and radio-friendly melody. Thus, switching tack completely, 'Which Way is Out' (featuring vocals from Gemma Hayes) comes across as a Teenage Fanclub meets The Cure, power-pop gem. And the jangly 'Somewhere for the Animals' is a swirling, psychedelic, indie-guitar tune with a driving rhythm that isn't a million miles from The La's.

Elsewhere ' Dark Haired Mistress' is a gorgeous mid-tempo tune with a compelling melody, while the title track, with its ominous piano, bass and drums interplay, sonically recalls the kind of atmospheric territory explored in the '80s by the likes of Talk Talk (on Colour of Spring) and The Blue Nile (A Walk Across The Rooftops)

Well worth investigating. - Colm O'Hare Hotpress Magazine


Joe Chester has become one of the finest songwriters in the country. Each of the nine originals carry the kind of tunes that other bands would kill for. With a voice like a tempered Rufus Wainwright, stripped of theatricality and lowered a pitch or two, it would still sound good if he was singing the phonebook. That said, it’s the lyrics that keep you coming back time and again. Themes of jealousy, heartbreak and desire are given a fresh twist, his mature outlook mixed with images of murder, villains and “sistine chapel faces”. It is stirring stuff. She Darks Me is elegant, measured and all the better for it. High time the listening public caught up with Joe Chester. She Darks Me has all the makings of a sleeper hit. - Hotpress Magazine


With two superb albums (2005’s A Murder of Crows and 2008’s The Tiny Pieces Left Behind ), Chester is one of those meticulous types for whom compulsion or irrationality is a rarity. Under these terms (which are by no means limitations), Chester triumphs, as his songwriting clearly benefits from such diligence. Several tracks (notably Acid Rain, Foreign Correspondent and Heart of Stone ) bear his hallmark attention to observant detail. Musically, it’s Chester’s usual mix of innate melody and carefully prepared arrangements. - The Irish Times


Chester's latest work is crammed with sweetly-simplistic, robust pop-rock gems. Maybe This is not Love is a synth-gilded and virile beauty, while The Bodies Start to Move is both butter-smooth and bewilderingly addictive. In all, The Tiny Pieces Left Behind is a delight that should propel Chester towards his rightful spot at the top of our musical food chain.

- Tanya Sweeney - - State Magazine


The good news : Joe Chester has followed up 2005's acclaimed debut, A Murder of Crows, with a humdinger of a second album. Chester provides a welcome antidote to all those vacuous singer-songwriters who for all their emoting don't seem to know what the word emotion means. I am reminded of John Lennon and Neil Young. It's that good. The Tiny Pieces Left Behind is a great album.
- Adrienne Murphy - - Hotpress Magazine


A modern alternative pop gem, the album boasts intelligent song writing, sparkling melodies and a burning if somewhat humble confidence in its own abilities.
- Jim Carroll - - The Irish Times


Its the perfect pop record. Negative feelings, like love lost and relationship break-ups are twisted and shaped into something altogether more encouraging. Theres no room for mellow tracks of acoustic guitars and weepy vocals. Chester is much more constructive and resourceful in taking his beautifully simple songs and using his extensive production knowledge to carefully construct around them. You will be lucky to hear anything more affecting all year . A Murder of Crows is an absolute joy. Every home should have one. - Hotpress Magazine


Discography

The Easter Vigil (to be released in 2016)
Hope Against Hope (2012)
She Darks Me (2011)
The Tiny Pieces Left Behind (2008)
A Murder of Crows (2005)

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Bio

Having served his apprenticeship with long stints in the Nina Hynes group, Dublin art-rock ensemble Sunbear (signed to The Enclave by the infamous Tom Zutaut, best known for signing Guns & Roses) and later Ten Speed Racer, Joe Chester released his debut solo record, A Murder Of Crows in 2005 to pretty much universal acclaim with Hotpress magazine decribing it as, “The perfect pop record“, and broadcaster Tom Dunne claiming that it was the best record he had ever had sent into his show, Pet Sounds. The record was nominated for the 2006 Choice music prize and Joe was nominated for Best Irish Male at the Meteor Irish Music Awards. It subsequently went on to be included in the Tony Clayton-Lea book, “101 Irish Records You Must Hear Before You Die.“

The follow up, The Tiny Pieces Left Behind, was three years in the making, finally appearing in 2008. Much more of a band record than its predecessor, it featured contributions from Gemma Hayes, Ann Scott and Binzer. Reaction was similarly effusive with State Magazine leading the charge with the opinion that, "The Tiny Pieces Left Behind is a delight that should propel Chester towards his rightful spot at the top of our musical food chain.“

However, the making of the album had left Chester burnt out and, with the exception of a launch show featuring his musical collaborators Gemma Hayes and Ann Scott, there would be no tour to support this record. Instead he embarked on a period of touring as a guitarist, beginning with Gemma Hayes, including opening for My Bloody Valentine on the North American leg of their 2008 reunion tour and then straight into several months of pre-production with Mike Scott of The Waterboys to prepare for the world premiere of his An Appointment With Mr. Yeats show which ran for a week at Dublin’s hallowed Abbey Theatre before heading off on the road.

By now, Chester had assembled the material for what many believe to be his greatest album yet, 2011’s, She Darks Me. Performed with a stellar band, including Trevor Hutchinson, Binzer, Steve Wickham and Mickey Raphael, and consisting mostly of first takes, Hotpress said, “Themes of jealousy, heartbreak and desire are given a fresh twist, his mature outlook mixed with images of murder, villains and “sistine chapel faces”. It is stirring stuff. She Darks Me is elegant, measured and all the better for it.“, while the Irish Times said, “Chester is one of those meticulous types for whom compulsion or irrationality is a rarity. Under these terms (which are by no means limitations), Chester triumphs.“

After a return to touring under his own name, including being invited to perform for the newly-elected President Michael D. Higgins and with a loyal fanbase who might reasonably have expected no new material until 2014, Chester took to Twitter in early 2012 to announce the immediate release of his fourth album,  Hope Against Hope, a more experimental, electronic record on which he set out possible future creative vistas. Nonetheless, it contained some of his most powerful songwriting to date, including, “Dark Haired Mistress“ and “Somewhere for the Animals“. Hotpress found that it was, “as intriguing as it is enjoyable,“ and that it, “sonically recalls the atmospheric territory explored in the 1980’s by Talk Talk and The Blue Nile.“

Joe is currently working on his fifth album, The Easter Vigil, to be released in 2016.


Band Members