Tuesday, June 27, 2006

CD review - Chris Stills

Chris Stills is an interesting artist, singing half in French and half in English in this album. I think that approach will alienate some listeners and perhaps prevent the album from reaching its full potential. It's a good effort though, with some great moments.

About the music rating: 7.5/10





If you were drawing up a shopping list of ingredients to make a great album it might go something like this. Take a lead musician made from good stock; son of French chanteuse Veronique Sanson and Stephen Stills (of Crosby, Nash, Stills and Young fame), to which add Jeff Buckley's drummer, co-write a song with alt-country legend Ryan Adams, add a generous dash of phenomenal producer Ethan Johns and pretty good voice to go with it.

Chris Still's second album is pretty good, though not quite the sum of its parts. On this record Chris wanted to explore the ties between the two different cultures that nurtured him – French songs and American rock. Consequently just under half the album is sung in French, co-written with native song-writers. Stills has more than a hint of Jeff Buckley about him (even the title of 'Say My Last Goodbye'). Perhaps egged on by the drummer they share, Chris uses similar vocal melodies and tricks, but feels more like a pretender to his throne than a rightful heir.

Elsewhere the album visits American alt-folk, leaving it stylistically a little disjointed. The Ryan Adams song, 'For You' is great, as is the 'Golden Hour', and the French songs may be too, but I can't understand the lyrics. Perhaps the best moment is the secret track where Chris sings The Band classic 'The Weight' in beautiful flowing French. From his heritage Chris Stills could be a real great, and while this is a good album with many strong points, he's still overshadowed by his parents.

1. Golden Hour
2. La Fin Du Monde
3. When The Pain Dies Down
4. Landslide
5. Démon
6. Say My Last Goodbye
7. For You
8. Interlude
9. Kitty Cathy
10. Story Of A Dying Man
11. Fool For Love
12. Deuxième Chance

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