What We Breathe In
Photo Credit: Nina Wurtzel Photography

PREMIERE | The Chordaes Drop ‘What We Breathe In’

The Chordaes premiere their new EP, What We Breathe In, a collection of tracks pondering their place in a world plagued by fear, hatred, and vulnerability. Produced by Marc Swersky, all of the songs on the EP were mixed by Kevin Killen, with the exception of “Venus,” mixed by Mark Needham.

Front man Leo Sawikin (lead vocals, guitar) provides the sonic impetus for The Chordaes with his deliciously intuitive songwriting. Other members of the band include Ethan Glenn (drums), and Kevin Foley (vocals, lead guitar).

The Chordaes grew out of the friendship and musical chemistry of Sawikin and Glenn, who first hooked up in seventh grade in Manhattan. Over time, the band evolved to its current lineup of a trio of superb musicians.

According to Sawikin, the band’s distinctive name denotes “the tendons in your heart that hold the valves to the muscles as it is expanding and contracting. Our name is a statement about the power of music in general, and about how we think. It’s about something that holds the delicate parts of you together.”

What We Breathe In comprises seven tracks, beginning with the title track, full of glistening jangly guitar colors atop a buff, measured beat. Sawikin’s potent voice, smooth and evocative, with a hint of exotic inflection, infuses the tune with a gliding, contagious frisson. There’s an innate robust texture to this song both alluring and hypnotic.

“Venus,” a gorgeous love song, flows with wistful, haunting colors and Sawikin’s plaintive tones, as he narrates his desire for the woman of his dreams, someone he sees but will never attain. The streaming, quixotic textures of the melody infuse the tune with the elusive savor of vacant longing.

Explaining “Venus,” Sawikin says, “The idea of the song is that like two neighboring planets, we are locked in place by forces greater than we are. It’s about being in limbo with someone, being powerless to move closer to or further from them.”

Reminiscent of The Kinks, “Tuesday Afternoon” shifts tempo as it rides on pageant-like colors, giving the music a tantalizing mood of recollection. “This Is How It Ends” travels on a pulsating indie-rock melody, surging with brawny tones, especially on the solo section, where the drums and wailing guitar assume control.

“Got To Get Out” opens on drifting colors and lightly shimmering guitars seguing into a gentle pop-flavored alt-rock tune. Sawikin’s voice, rich and intense, projects the necessity of breaking out of a complex of titanic ruins to something better. “All My Life” is a bouncy, upbeat tune about digging a hole even deeper rather than changing your ways. I love the baroque horn colors, imbuing the tune with droll textures.

“Miles Across The Sea” is possibly the best track on the EP, featuring a velvety melody full of drawling haunting guitars, as well as alt-country/So-Cal soft rock flavors. Sawikin’s voice, soft and creamy, imbues the lyrics with contemplative hues.

What We Breathe In is a glorious EP, rife with scrumptious harmonic flows, catchy lyrics, and Leo Sawikin’s unforgettable voice.

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Written by Randy

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.