EVERY DAY HAS AN END
(Sublime Media Works)
The stylish cover shot of Chris Graham on his new disc "Every Day Has An End" belies a prescient lyricist with a knack for delicious melodies and supple ballads.
After stints with rock act Ironic Twist and a set with Alice on the sidestage at Woodstock '99, the Toronto-based singer/songwriter's debut, delightfully blends breezy romantic tunes like "Miracles" and "Tip of the Iceberg" with the political narratives of "Gone American" and "If I Knew What It Was."
A record of exquisite minimalism -- soothing acoustic picking, hushed vocals, slow-motion electric guitar and eerie keyboards -- Graham skillfully wears different masks on each of the album's 10 tracks.
Against a call-to-arms guitar riff on "If I Knew What It Was," he projects a voice pitched somewhere between Wes Scantlin's tender vocals from Puddle of Mudd's "Spin You Around" and the driving harmonies of "Cut You In" by Jerry Cantrell, while on "All Split Up" and "Peppercorn Graves" he presents a reasonable facsimile of Tears for Fears' vocalist Roland Orzabal set to drizzly slow jams.
And while he plays all of the instruments on the release, the songs sound as if a group that's been around for years has assembled them.
His delivery on the album's title track "Every Day Has An End" soothes with its message of optimism ("On the clearest day, In the clearest way/ Lightning could strike and you'd walk away from it"). And on "All Split Up," Graham relates the story of a broken relationship ("In my head, I had a plan/ But it slipped out of my hands") with such poignancy that you can hear the door closing as one lover slowly creeps out the back door.
He goes on, dipping his pen in the fountain of politics on "Gone American" ("So many voices, but whose choices/ Are we letting them divorce us from our souls") and "If I knew What It Was" ("Things could turn around this hour/ But politicians meet in sessions/ And do their best Igor impressions"), but Graham is most comfortable wearing his heart on his sleeve and the bittersweet candy of "Rubber Ball," "Downtown" and "All Split Up" is what suits him best.
1. Tip of the Iceberg
2. Gone American
5. If I Knew What It Was
6. Rubber Ball
7. Ono Eddie
8. Every Day Has An End
9. All Split Up
10. Peppercorn Graves