If you were around when the moody yet danceable sounds of The Cure and New Order were popular, then Chin Up Chin Up’s This Harness Can’t Ride will trigger a blast from the past. The first seven songs on their sophomore release are tightly executed, danceable compositions, but don’t carry enough of a charge in them to distinguish one from the next. It’s as if Chin Up Chin Up have zeroed in on a successful formula and kept repeating it, hoping to turn it into a sub-genre. Their debut, We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers, had less in the way of production refinement than "Harness," yet contained more variation.
Jeremy Bolen’s beseeching voice dominates the album and the lyrics are pieced together like magnetic poetry, as their meaning isn’t immediately apparent, but they’re artistic and entertaining nonetheless. The more diverse tracks occur at the end of the album with a female vocalist on "Landlocked Lifeguards" and more variety in chord changes, percussion, and tempo. This Harness Can’t Ride Anything isn’t a throw-away, but it isn’t a better follow-up either.