"Now" by Chasing Deer featuring Ollie HayesReview
Just released by Chasing Deer is the perhaps appropriately titled "Now", which as collaborator Ollie Hayes is co-credited as a featured artist, presumably originates from the same Margate writing sessions as the recent "On Standby" and "Always Been You" singles.
Rob has spoken of how he has a fresh impetus after this retreat & the products certainly not only bear out a sense of artistic renewal but evidence that his writing is now heading into new areas both lyrically (as with "On Standby") and musically as we can hear here.
I can't think of a previous Chasing Deer song which sounds like "Now": and naturally that's intended as praise as it's good to note an artistic expanding their palette.
Like any decent track, trying to precisely pin down any direct comparison is not easy, but while Chasing Deer pieces generally tend towards the production of lusher pop arrangements, albeit without adding superfluous layers of instrumentation, "Now" is relatively austere: it evoked in my mind some of the early 1980s electro-pop experiments. Whether Rob & Ollie had that sort of thing in mind or not, the result certainly enables Rob's own voice to predominate throughout & soar above the backing as the emotional heat is turned up: and that's a welcome effect given that his vocals are a trademark.
That level of emotion is largely driven by the words & sense of the song as you'd expect and while I described "Always Been You", as a return to classic Chasing Deer territory of love, this one is much more anguished in tone (and there is an uncharacteristic keening guitar solo in there to reinforce this): though rather curiously there are also odd chiming effects from time to time which may be a seasonal nod….
Whether the "new" Chasing Deer approach is sonic diversity (and the three most recent releases certainly support this interpretation) or whether "Now" represents the early stages of a long term evolved sound, I think it bodes well. Artistic development is so important both in moving forward & in maintaining the respect for the previous catalogue by not returning to same well too often. I'm not sure how many more "Margate" tracks there are to emerge as singles either, but I doubt that they'll be flashes in the pan. Chasing Deer are back & gearing up for an exciting 2023.