Release Date: April 1, 2022
Genre: Pop, Pop Rock, Alternative Rock, Hip-Hop, Electronic Label: Hopeless Records The Buffalo, New York-based composer, producer, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Nick Chiari or better known by his stage name Grabbitz, began performing as a DJ in 2012, where he made quite the name for himself. Chiari started turning heads with his hit single, "Here With You Now," in 2014. However, skipping ahead a few years, in 2018, Grabbitz got a colossal break when his track, "My Cloud," was played by legendary basketball player Shaquille O'Neal -who is hugely into the electronic dance music community himself- during a DJ set, leading to a slew of brand new fans being led onto Grabbitz's music. Later that year, Grabbitz and Shaq met up in Los Angeles and filmed a music video for the single. Now, Grabbitz is back with his self-produced second full-length album, Time Isn't Real, his first on Hopeless Records, and his first since moving away from EDM to a more pop, pop-rock, and alternative hip-hop approach while still delving into his EDM roots.
Time Isn't Real begins with the intro piece, "What Now?" and runs right into the album's infectious lead single, "Pigs In The Sky." The lead single is a lighthearted tune that still has a serious message at its core. It details Chiari's "what the f--k" attitude -and nearly everyone's- to the entirety of what the pandemic exactly was. "Pigs In The Sky" immediately showcases Grabbitz's transformation from an instrumental EDM producer to a new voice within the pop and alternative rock community. Shifting into a new genre can be tough, but for Grabbitz, it came with ease, showcasing a blend of alternative rock, pop, and shades of hip-hop. "Pigs In The Sky" has it all and proves right out of the gate he has a very promising career ahead of him. Following is the track, "The Ugly." Grabbitz isn't afraid to return to his electronic roots with a powerful '80s sci-fi-inspired electronic and pop-infused sounding number. "RIP" takes things in an entirely different direction with a full-fledge rock number that will leave you feeling like you were kicked in the face. The track features plenty of guitars, a strong bass line, and heart-pounding drum fills. Grabbitz has come to stake his claim that no genre is holding him back from now and forever.
The album's fifth and sixth tracks -and double-sided single- "Teleport" and "Comedown" explore the institution of time and space and warp the mind with the idea of teleporting into another time/world and reconciling with that fate. The nearly nine-minute music video for the two tracks features vibrant neon cyberpunk visuals that help build upon the dual single's story. By continuing blending genres to his will, "Teleport" blasts into the realm of a genre-defying tune that mixes elements of rock and rap with an insatiable pop-style chorus and use of EDM bass drops. Whereas "Comedown" shifts focus to a powerful, slow-paced pop-rock ballad where Grabbitz puts his clean vocal range on pure display. What a track, that's all I have to say. It leaves me speechless with every listen. The following track, "Pain Killer," really draws its brooding side from the likes of grunge acts of the '90s, but the one that translates on the front half of the track clear as day is Nirvana. The second half of the song blends guitars with an EDM beat. If you ever imagined what a DJ remix of a Nirvana song might be like, this might be as close as you'll ever get to it. It's worth noting that before turning to electronic dance music as a creative outlet, Chiari dabbled around with some hip-hop while he was in high school but ultimately, in the end, turned to EDM. His mentioned hip-hop background and influence shines with absolute beauty on the otherworldly, somehow proggy, and sci-fi-esque number, "87 Seconds." While it's the most hip-hop track on the album, it's another where Chiari lets his vocal range soar to the other ends of the earth. At this point on the album, Grabbitz takes all of the styles performed on the first eight tracks and amalgamates them into three beautiful, intricately composed tracks like no other on the album. These last three tracks have something for everyone. If you want a piano-infused pop-rock number with a pulsating bassline and intrinsic guitars, turn your eyes to "A Wolf Dressed Up As A Sheep." If you want something that would fit perfectly on Linkin Park's electronic rock album One More Light, then I say, check out "Dying To Know You." However, if you want a blend of hip-hop and symphonic rock -in the same vein as The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony"- then "Another Form of Goodbye" is the track you should hit the play button on. If I were you, I wouldn't skip a single song on this album. It's beyond a known fact that Time Isn't Real has a bit of everything for every fan of pop, rock, and hip-hop, and even exceeding those genres, really. Time Isn't Real is built around the concept that music and art can transcend the construct of time. Some of these songs may or may not follow that theme lyrically, but that's what it is at the center of it all, and I and many others could frankly argue that music does indeed transcend time. Grabbitz's latest record is a culmination of his influences to this current point of his life. In Chiari's words describing the album: "It's a collage, if you will, using all the musical materials I'm made of. I placed these materials into a metaphysical museum where anyone and everyone is welcome, from any point in history or the future, to show that music and art can transcend a construct such as time."
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