There is no denying the talent represented in Denver band Chimney Choir. All three members—David Rynhart, Kris Drickey, and Kevin Larkin—are multi-instrumentalists, and last year the crew wrote 25 new songs for contemporary ballet company Wonderbound‘s Boomtown production. But their latest release marks an evolution for the trio—a charming and distinct step into the spotlight.
The album, (dream), is, like its namesake, hard to categorize. Pianist and guitarist Rynhart calls it “theatrical electro-folk.” It’s rooted in rootsy, Americana sounds and vibes, but the band’s interest in electronic and percussion styles help foster an entirely new sound. And the influence of their work with Wonderbound is obvious: There are seven tracks on the album, plus six transitional pieces, so the album itself becomes one cohesive story rather than a collection of individual works.
“When you’re playing for theater or dance, the music is a part of the bigger picture of what’s going on,” Rynhart says. “Exploring music like that, it’s creating a big emotional arc over a long period of time, not just song by song. We really like putting music together in that way.” Themes and compositions repeat throughout the album, weaving through a dream-like trance. In some cases, the trio took “scraps of songs”—discarded rhythms, chord progressions, lyrics—and collaged them together in the experimental vein of electronic music composition. Chimney Choir’s first single, “Center of Gravity,” exemplifies these efforts as it seamlessly blends folk instrumentals with electronic punches for a plucky, meandering ride.
Hear (dream) live—and help Chimney Choir celebrate—during a “multimedia theatrical concept album release show” on Saturday, November 19, at Mercury Cafe. (Westword awarded the band Best Album Release Show in 2013 for its immersive theater experience for the album (compass).) The show’s at 8 p.m., and tickets are $15. We can’t really tell you what to expect, because even Rynhart knows he’ll be surprised by some of it. He did reveal a few secrets about the dream sequence–inspired evening, though: 3-D animator Evan McCandless created a multimedia projection; there will be puppets and two comedians (not necessarily together); and, of course, the audience will hear (dream) in full. “Everything is an extension of the music,” Rynhart says.