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New Zealand power-pop trio Street Chant aren’t a band known for their inactivity. In their earlier days and prior incarnation as Mean Street, the band became notorious for playing night on every weekend in their hometown of Auckland. Greater exposure led to multiple national tours, including one with luminaries The 3Ds, followed closely by a much-envied opening slot for The Dead Weather’s Australasian trip. Riding high on this success, in mid-2010 their debut album ‘Means’ was released. The album received high praise both locally and abroad, and with their victory in the inaugural Critics’ Choice category at the New Zealand Music Awards (not to mention adoring coverage from local news media), their profile in their homeland reached a status rarely afforded to local indie acts. To the benefit of the citizens of Aotearoa, and now to the world, it doesn’t appear that this increased exposure has put them in any mind to slow down.

Following trips to the CMJ Music Marathon and South By Southwest festivals, as well as multiple New Zealand and Australian tours, the band spent much of the middle of 2011 working in the studio on the much-anticipated follow-up to ‘Means’. After much tweaking, this October will see the release of the first single from the as-yet-untitled second album, Frail Girls. If ‘Means’ provided hints as to Street Chant’s greater vision, Frail Girls suggests that they may well have realised it. More nuanced than their earlier material and never sounding altogether over-familiar, it’s a song that handily distills the band’s modus operandi into three minutes of sneering cynicism, pitch-perfect vocal harmonies and a rhythm section that personifies ‘propulsive’. Frail Girls will initially be released digitally, though for those who prefer their music tactile, it will also be the A-side of an upcoming 7”. Both the album and the single are being released by Auckland’s own Arch Hill Recordings, home to local legends The Clean and fellow over-achievers Surf City.

With this pending release in mind, it only seems appropriate that Street Chant should make their return to the vast and sprawling land that is the United States of America late this year. Playing again at CMJ before hitting both coasts with The Lemonheads on their ‘It’s a Shame About Ray’ tour, while simultaneously waiting to hear if they’ll go back-to-back at the New Zealand Music Awards with their nomination for Best Alternative Act, it’s unlikely that these three will be getting any sleep before Christmas.

Though, given current form, it doesn’t really seem as though they need it.

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