Chris Price “Stop Talking”
Chris Price’s sophomore album took over 3 years to create, recorded in-between his work as a producer on the albums by Emitt Rhodes and Linda Perhacs and his role in the quintet Bebopalula, which released an EP last year. Bob Dylan once said “Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain,” and Chris Price’s Stop Talking is mostly about pain and loss, but told with an elegance and beauty that’s impossible to ignore. The vignettes of each song reveal something disturbing under the surface of each catchy melody, done through Price’s sober singer-songwriter stylings.
The title track is a response to all the noise and anxiety out there, as he begs “stop talking about love I don’t think it’s real/stop talking about the pain I don’t want to feel.” It’s followed by “Hi Lo,” one of many depression-themed songs (“Once Was True,” “Anhedonia”) even the strong uplifting melody of “Man Down” is in contrast to the lyrics sung from a killer’s point of view. The bleak storyline continues on the creepy “Pulling Teeth,” like an evil Lee Hazelwood tune, with distorted strings backing a slow chorus. Highlights also include the frustration of “Father To The Man” about putting your dad in a nursing home and the ballad “You and Me (And Everyone Else),” a heart-wrenching goodbye to a loved one.
It takes a psyche-pop turn with “Algebra In The Sky” which sounds like a lost Lenny Kravitz tune, and then the album finishes up with a series of apocalyptic songs; “One of Them” and “Just In Time.” It took a few listens, but each macabre tune sticks with you and haunts your subconscious. A unique vision and highly recommended.
Eric Matthews “Too Much World”
For me, Eric Matthews has been equally brilliant and frustrating over the years. A big fan of his debut, I grew disillusioned with his ever increasing esoteric chamber pop albums after 1997’s Lateness Of The Hour. With Too Much World, some of the things that drew me to Eric’s music are back as his meticulous production work is matched by some well-written gems, like the opener “Pink” and piano-led “God Loves His Children.”
It’s nice to know the years have not dimmed Matthews abilities, no matter how far he goes down the rabbit hole of orchestral instrumentation on “Dragonfly” and Matthews statement that this album is “about having consumed too much world, that is choking out my connection to the world of spirit, of people..” One of the better songs here “Exactly Like Them,” has a great guitar riff alongside Eric’s trademark vocals, a driving pop force that deserves attention. This approach is repeated on “Never Mind Now” and its stands out too.
Several songs are more spiritual, like “Shadows Fall” and they often run over the four-minute mark, and meander along till we get to the epic title track which asks “who’s hand is in control?” with a catchy bossa nova rhythm. If you’ve ignored Matthews career in the aughts, this is a good one to bring you back into his world. Highly Recommended.