Multi-instrumentalist Stephen Chopek introduces his innovative EP, Dweller, a six-track collection of tasty power-pop music. Dweller’s genesis occurred when Chopek came home from touring with Mike Doughty, the former frontman of Soul Coughing. Overcome by a monsoon of creativity, he began writing new material, followed by finding himself locked down because of the pandemic.
With lots of time on his hands, he indulged his muse. As Chopek puts it, “I got to a new place with my writing because I was able to focus on this one thing completely. I had the time, so there was no rush.”
As he fashioned the new songs, Chopek realized his writing process had transformed from chord progressions and melody to delving into guitar riffs, keyboard lines, and drum grooves. At that point, his wife accepted a job requiring them to move from Tennessee to Georgia.
Chopek shares, “The move gave me a deadline. If I didn’t finish recording at home in Memphis, it would have really disrupted the process.”
Once in Atlanta, he reassembled his studio, where he listened to his songs. After spending time away from them, he discovered new insights, followed by rearranging and beginning the mixing.
The title – Dweller – represents the isolation and motionless feeling of the lockdown, a sensation unfamiliar to Chopek, who had spent most of his life touring or in the studio with Charlie Hunter, John Mayer, and Jesse Malin, along with a host of other artists.
The EP starts with “All Work No Play,” opening on dirty, scuffing guitars flowing into a thumping rhythm topped by Chopek’s lusciously nasal tones, imbuing the lyrics with drawling flavours. At the same time, glowing harmonies give the tune a blooming dimension.
“All play and no work means that I’m always having fun / All play and no work leaves nothing more to be done.”
Entry points include “Empty Hands,” blending hints of new wave with alto-pop savours riding a vivacious rhythm as Chopek’s melodic voice infuses the lyrics with bubbly energy. Crunching drums give the tune an enticing crisp allure as glistening textures glide overhead.
“My Fault” travels on delicious, oblique percussion, reminiscent of The Police. Gleaming guitars embellish the harmonics with luminous colouration, producing a bubbly tune brimming with infectious washes of sound.
The final track, “Unspoken Hopes,” for some reason conjures up memories of Rush because of the power chords and inventive, shifting drums. A shimmering breakdown and tempo change add to the song’s elastic sensation.
Pervaded by delicious polychromatic textures, Dweller delivers wonderfully redolent songs, at once warm and contagious.
Listen to 'Dweller' - BELOW: