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Reviews CD Reviews Alternative, Indie Rock Christopher- Torched Laughter


ARTIST: Christopher

ALBUM: Torched Laughter

LABEL: Self-released

REVIEWER: Matthew J.

DATE: 9-2-09

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Canadian solo artist Christopher has followed up his ambitious but somewhat flawed progressive rock epic Smoke and Origination with a remarkably understated EP companion. Featuring just six songs and recorded almost entirely on acoustic instruments, it highlights Christopher's best qualities as a songwriter, performer, and arranger. Educated as a classical guitarist, he shows off his chops on the almost Medieval-sounding "Jaw Filled Wreckage" and the stark but delicate "Evening Flesh (Innuktorviit)." Long inspired by African and Middle Eastern traditions, he integrates tribal hand drums with atmospheric flutes on "Clockwork Contaminate," while "The Tilted Figure" meshes gypsy-style violins with Hammond organ and yowled rock vocals for a vibe that's exotic but not tied down to any one place or time. Vocally, he's still a dramatic and powerful singer, but thanks to both the acoustic nature of this release and a less overtly theatrical approach, this release lacks the more overwrought moments that plagued his previous release. "Another Blue Ribbon (Wake Me)" builds his voice in choral layers for added depth, and "Finely Tuned Meat" displays an unexpectedly dark falsetto that makes it this EP's most intense track. This is Christopher at his finest; reined in by the constraints of his more acoustic approach, he's at his most focused here, and while this isn't the epic that fans of his more progressive rock-oriented material may have been expecting, it's also a nearly flawless little collection of songs.

Check out www.chnristopher.mu for more information.


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