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Chemical City

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Album Review

With the resurgence of interest in classic rock (did it ever really fall from fashion?), many groups have imitated the sound of the '70s, but few have so completely emulated the sweep and grandeur of that decade's best rock albums as Sam Roberts' Chemical City. The very look of the packaging highlights the glory of that era with its striking artwork, details of which appear within the equally sumptuous booklet. Back in the day, a poster of the cover would have been included; perhaps the band will sell them at their shows instead, certainly the art is worthy of it. The music, too, harkens back to the sweep of styles and atmospheres that were de rigueur of "classic" albums. "The Gate" sets the standard with a quite magnificent slab of psychedelia flavored rock, a style that shifts into a swirlier alterna-mode for "Mind Flood" and "Mystified Heavy." "Bridge to Nowhere" crosses into grebo territory, although it has enough of an edge to recall New Model Army, while "With a Bullet" adds a Celtic tinge to the style. "The Bootleg Saint," "The Resistance," and "An American Draft Dodger in Thunder Bay" are at the other end of the spectrum, the first two marbled by the Rolling Stones, the latter splattered with early Small Faces. And no "classic" album would be complete without a ballad, and Chemical City sports two, the lovely, acoustic "Uprising Down Under," along with the emotive keyboards, and the vocals-only "Stone Would Cry Out." All told, the set is a sumptuous helping of songs with strong melodies and anthemic choruses vying with more subtle, shaded pieces, all filled with meaty lyrics that are easily the equal of the music.

Customer Reviews


Sam Roberts well known in Canada but almost unknown here in the US,is one band you should know.I purchased Chemiacl City when it was released in Canada by mail order and have not stopped playing it. My personal favorites,"The Gate","Mind Flood","Uprising Down Under"and"Mystified,Heavy". "Mind Flood"is a mental trip for your ears. Sam Roberts is what Rock and Roll has been missing for many many years.So come on America WAKE UP! and enjoy the ride with Sam and his band. Also check out "We Were Born in a Flame" (excellent!)

Great follow-up!!!

Sophmore albums can be tricky business. But Sam Roberts seems to have gotten thru this obstacle without so much as blinking. Great songwriting. An album with an equal mixture of pop ("Bridge to Nowhere"), rock ("With A Bullet"), and some Pink Floyd like influences ("Mind Flood" and "The Gate"). A leaner album in terms of length compared to We Were Born In A Flame, but nonetheless a solid effort.

Sam Robersts is the man

If you haven't heard Sam and the boys, just listen to track 4 (Mind Flood) and prepare to be blown away. This album marks a departure from the previous album where Sam was responsible for writing all of the music. The band has grown and each member makes their own contributions to this album and lots of good comes with that.


Born: October 2, 1974 in Westmount, Quebec, Canada

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Canadian singer/songwriter Sam Roberts released his first true debut in 2002, following a popular demo he had made in Montreal. Before that, he had been a violin player who eventually moved on to guitar and started a rock band with his friends. After getting a bit of coverage on MuchMusic, they decided to try their luck in Los Angeles. The band didn't get any positive reactions from record labels and disbanded in 1998, but that didn't stop Roberts from going back to Canada and beginning to write...
Full Bio
Chemical City, Sam Roberts
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Customer Ratings