Hailing from Alaska, Chris Watkins is a singer/songwriter who at the age of sixteen formed the band Drunk Poets. I have to admit I’m not familiar with the Alaskan music scene but apparently they were a big deal back in the ‘90s. Since then Watkins has kept the name but members have came and gone as he remained the anchor and creative force behind the music.
His recent album London Can Take It contains eleven songs and at the end of the day it comes down to Watkins’ vocal performances. The music is nothing to scoff at but Watkins’ delivery, which you could argue sounds like a combination of Lou Reed and Adam Granduciel from The War On Drugs is really the element that sticks out and makes the songs unique.
Like Reed, Watkins sometimes poetically rambles between talking and speaking. You can picture him smoking a cigarette, not having a care in the world and delivering these words in concert. “Burning Daylight” is a solid opener, which settles into an atmosphere of melancholy and nostalgia. The music revolves around an acoustic guitar, bass and drums. I loved how up close his vocals sounded and on that point everything else sounded top notch.
On the next song “Comeuppance” Watkins gets a bit more pep in his steps and I liked it. He sounds great when he combines the melancholy in his voice with upbeat music. Great song and arguably the highlight on the album. The centerpiece of the album is the eight-plus minute epic entitled “Victoria.” Watkins veers towards a more dreamlike atmosphere during the verse. It’s a solid song but I felt it probably would have fared better around four-to-five minutes.
Watkins rocks out but not too hard on “Wolf at the Heel” which will bring up those Lou Reed comparisons while “Dead Gone” is a unique song that embraces white noise and dramatic effects.
London Can Take It is full of honest songwriting and lyrics that is backed by solid music. This one is a no brainer - I recommend you check it out.
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