On We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers, Chin Up Chin Up presses on from their remarkably solid self-titled six-song debut EP, released in 2002. The Chicago four-piece successfully added another notch to that city’s indie-rock belt with ten songs of moody, hushed aesthetics. Despite the tragedy surrounding this release (bassist Chris Saathoff was fatally injured in a hit-and-run accident in early 2004), the band was able to soldier on and complete a difficult yet engaging album.
The band used some of Staathoff’s bass tracks as the centerpieces of new songs for We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers, its debut full-length, which features Appleseed Cast’s Marc Young filling in as permanent bassist. The album is the culmination of everything they have been through since their beginning. Starting off with “Why Is My Sleeping Bag a Ghetto Muppet?,” the band creates gold out of desperation. On “Virginia, Don’t Drown,” Bolen’s rough and at times scratchy vocal delivery propels the song, adding an extra layer to a sound perfected a decade ago.