On Chosen Family, Thin Lips riff smarter, not harder | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

On Chosen Family, Thin Lips riff smarter, not harder 

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click to enlarge Thin Lips

Thin Lips

Scott Troyan

Chosen Family (Lame-O Records), the new record from Philadelphia trio Thin Lips, opens with an snippet from a conversation in which vocalist Chrissy Tashjian lays out her understanding of queerness, saying, “Queer to me means boundary pushing and love and community and relationship.” Fittingly, on this album the band reach beyond the rambunctious indie punk of their debut, Riff Hard. They put a lot of thought into the slow simmer of “It’s Hard to Tell the Difference When You’re Afraid of Literally Everything” or the bass-forward “I Know That I’m the Asshole,” and their use of synths and slide guitar expands their sound without compromising their core of catchy tunes and crunchy riffs. Though there’s an abundance of joyful freedom in their music, Thin Lips don’t ignore the hardships of living outside of heteronormative society. Tashjian’s lyrical targets include the complexity of queer sex, dating while touring, losing loved ones, and failing to fulfill the expectations of family and society. It’s a heavy mixture, but even in the album’s darkest moments, there’s always an anthemic chorus ahead to provide much-needed catharsis. When Thin Lips were here last year, they opened for kindred spirits Worriers. After seeing their growth on Chosen Family, I’m not surprised they’ve snagged the headlining spot this time.   v

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