Ambition is nothing new for Chocolate Grass. Without August Wahh singing the blues in her creamy upper register or the band stripping the core elements of ‘70s soul in a bohemian vigil, their songs would feel stale and uninspired, the kind which lacks the ridiculous complexity that has drawn us into their music in the first place. This is why “Better than a kiss itself” works in a Chocolate Grass context: the keyboards and horn arrangements are both mesmerizing in its runs and pauses, and its psychedelic, jazzy warmth does something that fellow contemporaries seemed to lack—passion and intensity. There’s hypnotic playfulness in the way Chocolate Grass articulate sensuality and rage like both elements intertwine at one point. When August gushes over a summer romance and belts out, “Sometimes it’s better than the kiss itself,” it all sounds more like a command than a confessional in itself. Her voice is a towering presence, an intense weapon that razors your feelings with the deepest cut. Restraint may not be in her vocabulary, but her voice adds fuel to the band’s show-stopping display of force and talent, a fearlessness that trades control for maximum emotional effectiveness.
Photo c/o Jon San Pedro.