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ANDERS CHRISS Volatility A Tale Untold Records (2010)

Anders Chriss

Anders Chriss is a musician focussed on the international market as well as fulfilling his commercial potential. For here is a Swedish musician who has found success in China while simultaneously having one foot in the rock/pop field and the other in the dance market. 'Volatility' just about pulls off an unlikely balancing act and as a result the album offers contemporary crossover appeal.

'Volatility' is a slow burner born of subtle textured rhythms, layered sounds and warm grooves. Anders also possesses an expressive voice which by turns is used as an extra instrument and on occasions is cleverly distorted it to fit the feel of the track. At its best the album offers melodic immediacy as on the opening 'The One' and potential dance floor action with 'Little Man'.

Best of all is the stripped down 'Change the Weather' which features a subtle vocal arrangement and a back to front acoustic guitar and harp end-piece which might just as easily have been at the front of the song.

Fans of Aussie star John Butler star will surely enjoy the gentle insistent grooves and radio friendly hook of a potential hit. But at its worst Anders comes too close to the Craig David school of over produced Trip Hop while the more up tempo and guitar driven 'Good Lies' has more of a New Wave feel with its retro sounding synth lines and snappy rhythms.

Like so many current albums Anders' best writing is sometimes hidden beneath a layered production that focuses on the tonal textures and flighty rhythms at the expense of the song. On 'Run out of Love' he finally settles on a more solid pop rock structure with a good hook, but even this fine effort is laced with synth squiggles.

The album finishes on a high with the lovely drifting 'All Shall Fade', which is predicated on a repeated melodic piano line as Anders eschews the dance friendly approach and heads into a far more meditative territory. Given the nature of what has gone before, the closing track is as impressive as it is unlikely.

As his PR suggests 'Volatility' offers hints of Radiohead and delivers the occasional vocal angst of Jeff Buckley. But despite the excellent closing two songs you still feel a little bit like having eaten a Chinese meal, full but never quite sated.

Nonetheless 'Volatility' is the kind of album whose best moments make you want to return for more and in that respect it is deserving of repeated plays.


Review by Pete Feenstra


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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