Venice Shoreline Chris – 4-Track Adventures – Review

Venice Shoreline Chris

4-Track Adventures (Moon)
by Grant Thayer

This title sounds like the soundtrack to a Saturday morning cartoon series where the hero overcomes hate and violence around the world with his music. As far as the music goes, try to imagine solo, acoustic ska. Well, I couldn’t either when I got this from the ska source: Moon Records. This bare-bones recording of the love of ska hits on the most primitive level, in the heart. Chris Murray (lead singer of Canada’s King Apparatus) plays old skool and rock steady with stripped-down production; just him and a four-track recorder. His style is personal and lo-fi, like the Jamaican ’60s, as he captures emotion rather than a clean, sterilized sound. The first cut, “Rock Steady,” is just that, a rock steady progression with vocal overdubs creating hollow harmonies. “All-Nite Dinah,” the first of four instrumentals, has a heavy organ presence, but it’s “The Organizer” that provokes the keys into a frenzied circus atmosphere. “Ex-Darling,” ironically the most upbeat/uptempo song on the disc, is culled from personal experience, as is the last track, “Cooper Station Blues.” Cooper Station is part of Moon Records’ address and this song recalls the experience of submitting his demo tape to Moon and being rejected, as in,”don’t know if the rude boys, like you boys, will like my stuff … and the tape it sounds too rough.” Venice Shoreline Chris is a very talented musician and creative producer. His disc is honest and has feeling. Much like an archaeological dig, music goes forward by using old tools and digging up the past.

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