Having seen The Chalfonts live, I know them to be a collection of goofballs. I figured once I dug into their songs they would be goofy too, in that kind of fun, gawky, liberal arts college dudes way. I was dead wrong. The band's debut, Sex Dreams on Submarines, is a mature, gracefully crafted and performed collection of music that, as concept, tells a story that hints of Homer's timeless Odyssey but set during 20th century wartime. That's my take on it anyway. (I didn't go to university.)
Musically The Chalfonts are impossible to pin down. If forced at harpoon-point to classify them, I'd call them "prog-pop." Think of a band like Supertramp. Though different animals, there were times as I absorbed Submarines that the experience took me back to similar listens in my youth, Supertramp's Paris blasting in my ears. The Chalfonts use a wide variety of instrumentation and voices, but their sound never gets overwhelming or muddy. Choosing a highlight or two is a difficult task. I really enjoyed both "Joining the War" and "Albatross," but that sells the record short. This story works best beginning to end, lyrics in hand, in a darkened room with headphones on.