March 15, 2017

LP: Stef Chura - Messes

Stef Chura sheds light on the necessary messiness of life.

I just turned twenty. To some people, this means nothing as they anxiously await another 365 days until they can get into a bar or venue sans fake ID. Instead, I’ve spent the last week listening closely to sound of my fridge rumbling, the murmurs of students in line to over-caffeinate themselves at, and the wind rippling through the windows during my walk to class. I wonder what all of these frenzies amount to while sitting in the temperate Colorado weather, indecisively taking my coat on and off, trying to make sense of what living for 7300+ days really means. But then I take a moment to pause as I open up my laptop, click play on Stef Chura’s new album, and turn the computer around, forcing myself to listen without typing a word. And with the introduction to opener “Slow Motion,” I begin to find control in the craze of it all.

Messes kicks off with an intoxicating lo-fi revelry as the first two songs juxtapose one another in tempo, sending me for a loop. At first, they appear to belong to different albums. “Slow Motion” recalls an auditory history of underground music scenes with the introductory shrill of the guitar, while “You” begins with a softer tempo, but eventually harshens throughout the song. The vacillation in sound continues throughout the album like an aged, winding set of steps. My expectation for the next song was often inaccurate and by the end of the album, I stop guessing, allowing myself to recline into Stef Chura’s curated wildness. On the title track, the instruments rise and fall in a wavy pattern, contrasting with Chura’s croons throughout the song before it veers off into the experimental. Towards the end, all of the varying instruments alongside Chura’s vocals come together in an organized turmoil of sound. “On and Off For You” provides a tranquil switch, audibly rocking the listener back and forth after the winding curve heard in “Messes.”

The mood of this album can be summed up in an idea that appears early on in Messes: “Going down the road in this out of control locomotive / That's not stopping for no one." While Messes exudes a sense of confidence, it also reminds the listener that being in a frenzy is OK, fluctuating from lo-fi tunes like “Spotted Gold” to more mellow tracks like “On and Off For You.” I'm listening to the album outside of my dorm room as the sky begins to darken. I'm peeking over at the pile of reading I still have to do, the outline of my paper crumpled up on the grass beside me, and an overflowing list of miscellaneous tasks is scribbled on my hand in black sharpie. In the age of perfect selfies and likes for self worth on social media, Messes assures me that mess is always acceptable, even if I don’t end up crossing everything off of my to-do list today. 


Listen to Stef Chura on bandcamp.

Amelia Eskenazi is a feminist and gender studies and art student at Colorado College. In their free time, they enjoy collaging boxes, dying their hair at 2 am, and eating freeze pops in the shower. Their political pondering and rants can be found on Twitter and their photographic outbursts can be found on Instagram at a_eskenazi.