Album review: Chastity Belt – Chastity Belt

By Anjali DasSarma

Chastity Belt’s music has grown and matured with each new album, and their self-titled album from earlier this year is no exception. The rolling hooky guitar sounds that they have been known for over the past six years tumble through the melancholy. The production, partially done by Melina Mae Duterte (Jay Som) provides a uniquely dreamy take on Chastity Belt’s sound. 

It feels older. Chastity Belt has always had incredibly quick-witted lyrical takes, but this album takes another step forward. The lyrics take on challenges that the band have been through since their last record. Shapiro released her incredible solo album, and the other members also pursued solo endeavours. And now, this album feels comprehensive of singular growth coming together after time apart. In “Effort,” Shapiro sings about her constant strain for perfection: “Trying to stay grounded / Get off the prowl /Stop shaping piles of dust / Into something that I want / But I’ll keep searching / Looking for light / A single glint’s enough / To send me jumping out of my skin.” The haunting strings at the close give an eerie contrast to the signature reverb guitar. 

The songs melt into one another, with the tempos nearly matching up throughout. And yet the similarity in tempo and sound between songs is not droning, it’s comprehensive, it’s intentional. This is the kind of album you’d want to get on vinyl, the kind of album that’s meant to be played through as one.

The shuddery guitar notes and echoey vocals on Rav-4 almost call to mind Sade, as Shapiro sings “Lost my mind and much more / But who’s keeping score?” ‘Chastity Belt’ questions whether there’s something bigger at play?

“It takes a lot of time to really get it right / It takes time to really get it right / Let go of control / Hoping only breeds fear,” Shapiro sings in “It Takes Time.” Though it’s unclear whether this is directed towards the listener or whether it’s a self-reflective murmur to themselves, on ‘Chastity Belt’ there’s no doubt, they really have ‘got it right’.

‘Chastity Belt’ is out now on Hardly Art

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