Chad Sabo – ‘joyride’

Releasing on January 20th via Drugs Records, joyride is the solo debut album from Chad Sabo. Written, recorded, and produced at his Belmar, NJ-based home studio, joyride enamors with a consistently hooky appeal, evident on both laid-back synth-infused touches of psychedelia and more immediate rock-forward successes.

A warming, inviting introductory track is complemented by a funky bass line and spacey synth infusions. “Hi, I’m Chad, and I just want to thank you for taking time out of your busy day to come along with me on this brief but colorful music experience.” The self-described “sonic joy ride,” is an apt descriptor, evident right away on the subsequent album title track. “joyride” excels with its debonair vocals and smooth guitar work, traversing seamlessly into a title-touting sequence with buzzing textural backing. “Joyride, take it slow,” ventures into reminiscing of “good times,” — and in general sets up a delightful, accessible listening experience with balmy melodic engrossment and stylish synth/guitar interplay.

Twangy guitars and subdued vocal immersion stirs on the subsequent “still mine,” succeeding with a mellow rock-forward disposition. This quaint success flows effortlessly into the album’s first single, “sunday.” “You said ‘I’m not good enough for love,'” a peppier vocal spirit entrances amidst playful guitar tones. Surf-y, wordless vocals and dashes of synths lend a tropical-friendly vibe amidst the playful indie-rock stylings, bridging a Strokes-esque tonal frequency with an ocean-set flourishing, excelling especially in the final moments as wordless vocal dazes and serene keys intertwine with spine-tingling effect. “sunday” is a testament to Sabo’s gripping songwriting and knack for lushly gripping soundscape construction.

The dreamy engrossment continues on “catholic,” where steady vocals and twangy guitars build into a bursting synth-fronted bridge. There, a psych-friendly bliss takes hold as soaring vocal inflections gear into the “I don’t know if I feel pain,” admittances; the track balances understated rock intimacy with a dash of psychedelic synth-y captivation. Thereafter, “holy ghost” ventures into a crunchier rock-friendly distortion, all while maintaining a charmingly subdued vocal delivery.

joyride is abundant in quality moments, ranging from the infectious immediacy of “sunday” to the psych-touched dazzling within “catholic.” “single use plastic” is another standout, letting out “you can be my light, baby,” into warbled synths dominating at mid-point, delectably weaving into psych-forward guitar tones. joyride is a ravishing debut album from Sabo, impressing with a stylish and melodic range of colorful synths and hooky guitar leads.

Sabo will also be performing two Asbury Park shows leading up to the release; one is on 1/20 at “Transparent Clinch Gallery” and an album release party follows on 1/26 at “Low Dive.”

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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