Chris Cohen - As If Apart - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Chris Cohen - As If Apart

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:7 Release Date:2016-05-06

If I had to pick one word to describe As If Apart, it would be 'groovy'. The entire album is nice and swirly, with lots of fuzzy layers and mellow vocals helping it float along. This record is channelling the mellower side of the psych-rock resurgence, somewhere in the neighborhood of The Byrds on valium, or qualuudes, if you want to keep it contemporaneous.

The album leads with a perfect piece of mellow smoothness, 'Torrey Pine', a hazy cloud of muted bass, light keyboards, gentle drumming, and, of course, some spacey effects. Most of the songs stay in that format, although some slide down to an even more relaxed level, like the sleepy 'Drink from a Silver Cup', which manages to work itself up to a slightly less mild chorus. And 'In a Fable' goes the opposite direction, with a bit more energy than most tracks, and a sense of urgency. It also has probably the most rockin bridge in the entire set.

In general, though, the whole set feels like it's happening on a sunny afternoon, with dappled shadows from nearby trees across the faces of the band. The album does lose its tenuous focus towards the end, with the aimless 'Sun Has Gone Away' fuzzing out to almost nothing but a bleary piano and listless vocals.

But the closer is just, wow, pure 60s, in all the best ways. I'm at Woodstock. I see the hippies everywhere, and they're dancing around goofily in preparation for the long drive to San Fransisco. When I talked about chanelling the Byrds, this is probably the closest to what I meant. There's a very particular kind of whiny, plucking guitar that is very era-specific. The beats and bass are on point, giving the song a great head-bobbing feel, and it's just an ultra-solid song to finish things up.

In fact, the first and last tracks are probably the best, and bookend what amounts to a slightly above average set otherwise. This is probably nothing you haven't heard before, but it has at least two moments of brilliance. Baby Boomers should love this stuff, but even this kids can appreciate some of it without nostalgia giving them a boost.

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