Mood music for a generation – Chappaqua Wrestling’s Plus Ultra

With songs tailor-made for festivals and a sound that grips like Hulk Hogan, this suburban Brighton four-piece look certs for indie rock stardom. The late, great Tommy Cooper once released a single called Don’t Jump Off The Roof Dad, about a working man driven to despair by modern life.

Plus Ultra is the grunge equivalent. It’s mood music for a disillusioned generation facing a cluster fudge of issues – mental health, the cost of living, social anxiety…

But while the kids in Tommy’s song offered dad an alternative – think of the begonias and jump in the lake instead – Chappaqua Wrestling tread the line between the depressing daily news and hope for the future. Pessimism versus optimism. To jump or
not to jump.

Their debut album kicks off with Full Round Table, a despondent lament that powers into a dense guitar-driven banger. It’s a huge number that sucks you into its brooding heart.

On more radical tracks like Kulture and Wide Asleep, Clash-influenced lyrics address class and race. The sentiments feel sincere, not just agit-prop marketing.

It’s not all doomy though. The pacy and insistent Need You No More feels like the Stooges do Americana.

The buoyant pop of Opaque is quite beautiful.

And Not In Love, an insidiously pretty break-up song, sees keyboardist Coco Varda sharing lead vocals.

Inspired by New Order and noughties indie, Sussex schoolboy pals Charlie Woods and Jake Mac recruited drummer John-Paul Townsend and caught the music world’s attention with the dark menace of their 2020 single The Rift, a song inspired by Shelley’s The Masque Of Anarchy.

The album title comes from the Latin phrase found on olde world maps, Ne Plus Ultra (no more beyond). Plus Ultra suggests there is more beyond. Much more, I’d wager.

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