This sophomore effort from heralded producer/musician Chris Price is a revelation. I found it, thanks to the excited recommendations of a friend and I’m so glad I paid attention to his glowing exhortations. Having spent time recording this album over a four year period, during which he helped produce Emitt Rhodes’ stunning comeback album, Rainbow Ends, and writing songs with (among others) Roger Manning, Mr. Price has crafted a beautiful, low voltage modern classic. It is, without sounding ridiculous, very easy to be drawn into this album – it’s the total package.
“Man Down” has a joyful piano arrangement (not dissimilar to Todd Rundgren, around A Wizard, A True Star) and a delightful guitar, not to mention Mr. Price’s smooth and, at moments, soulful vocals. This recalls “pop” from another era in an instantly embraceable fashion and resonates with me in a natural way; “Father To The Man” goes in a folk-jazz direction with simple accompaniment (besides Mr. Price’s voice) of guitar and a perfectly placed cello until halfway through – then building into a McCartney-like middle and returning to the subdued guitar/cello backing. “Once Was True” is in the same vein; finger-picked acoustic guitar, strings, winds, restrained percussion – a simple yet elegant melody. “You And Me (And Everyone Else)” is another piano ballad that easily would be a “second single” radio hit in a just world – the perfect follow up ballad; listen to those subtle background harmonies; “Pulling Teeth” is a hauntingly perfect ballad with a “straight” melody, an on-the-one guitar solo and oddly dissonant strings – not too far removed from something Brian Wilson may have done during the Smile era. “One Of Them” is the POP standout (to me, anyway); the kind of track Harry Nilsson would have delivered.
I’m grateful to the good people of Omnivore Recordings for having had the foresight to release this album. It’s certainly one of this year’s absolute highlights and standouts. But most importantly, it’s one of those albums that only come alone once or twice in a decade since “pop” like this doesn’t happen like it used to. So please – make it a “must” that you check out Chris Price’s Stop Talking – you’ll dig it completely upon first listen.
Stop Talking is currently available