Chris Robinette is a twenty-three year old musician/producer located in Boone, North Carolina. His recent release Many Houses, and a Few Haunted is a complete DIY effort that was done with a minimal setup. Before we get into the music I have to say that Robinette did a good job with recording, mixing and mastering of the album. Although it is shy from something you would expect from a professional studio Robinette has got an ear for mixing elements in an aesthetically pleasing way.
The story is a bit odd and a somewhat unbelievable but it deserves some mention. Many Houses, and a Few Haunted is a literal title of him moving to seven or eight different houses and spotting a ghost in two of the houses. Is this what actually happened or was it just something in his mind? Who knows, either way one thing the album does have is a haunting aura, which is mostly made via hall reverb. In fact a lot of the songs feel like mood pieces rather than a standard pop song following a verse/chorus/verse structure. I often was reminded of some of the earlier work of the solo project from Bradford Cox's Atlas Sound.
The songs play mantras that are hypnotic and sometimes eerily beautiful. Take for instance the opener “Quitter” which revolves around the lines “No I don't, But I do.” Robinette repeats the words over and over again as they get layered with more elements and lyrics. The bass drum could have benefited with a dip in some of the lower frequencies but overall the song is very enjoyable.
“Favorite Dress” feels a little bit more like a pop song as it has more lyrics and compartmentalized sections. I got a Local Natives vibe on this song from the lush vocal harmonies. That being said I could barely understand any of the lyrics because they are coated in so much reverb.
Robinette really nails the production and mix with “Contained, Gracious.” The song has plenty of space and an ample amount of elements. “Contained, Gracious” is one of the highlights on the album. Robinette doesn’t always cram in a lot of elements as we see with “His Quiet Glory.” The cascading vocal harmonies feel like a mirror to Julianna Barwick although I still couldn’t make out any of the lyrics.
Some songs like “I Don't Wanna Go to Bible Study Anymore” feel out of place. “I Don't Wanna Go to Bible Study Anymore” is a dissonant rocker that while sometimes engaging fell a bit flat.
My advice to Robinette would be to ease off on reverb or at least start EQing it so some of the songs aren’t muddy and the vocals are clear. Other than that this is a solid effort with a number of good songs. With a little bit of tweaking Robinette could certainly be a prolific artist.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook