You know those shows on Starz or HBO that have episodes where the main characters go their separate ways after a big milestone, like breaking up with someone or going to college or some other life BS, and then there're shots of them driving past trees and looking contemplative and mildly regretful? Every song on this EP could be used to score those scenes. If that sounds facetious it's because it is (I believe critics are, first and foremost, failed comedians, but that's another discussion). Having said that, Chris Strand, currently creating lonely highway music out of Austin, Texas, has crafted a meditative, at times emotive, and above all worthwhile, collection of acoustic songs that touch upon a little bit of everything. Alcoholism? Check out the deceptively winsome "Sweet Lucinda." The tremulous waters of Fate's ocean? He's got that covered in "Someday I'll Be Lucky.” Lonely lovers being lonely and unloved? "Chinaski," aisle five.
Strand's guitar playing is clever, quick and contains chord changes that would make Sam Beam blush. It's the strongest aspect of his music and it's what prevents the EP from getting stale. Except for a few creative studio touches, the songs rarely use anything else besides guitar and vocals. On any acoustic work, that's the biggest deal an artist must work out, but for Strand it's particularly important because he lacks pipes. There's not too much range or strength in his voice that allows the songs to be as good as they deserve. It's especially annoying because Strand is a confident lyricist; I think it's a no-no for a review to mention a song twice, but "Sweet Lucinda" is the best example of his writing, with creative imagery, metaphor and diction and all of that. I'm never very good at ending these things so I'll just say there's a song on here called "Premonitions (Jungian Heavy Metal)" and leave it at that.
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