EP REVIEW: Chris Riffle - Another Dream
By Cyrus Rhodes - 10/03/2012 - 11:57 PM EDT
Artist: Chris Riffle
Album: Another Dream
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Acoustic Rock, Singer Songwriter and Sadcore
Sounds Like: Jason Mraz, James Blunt, Daniel Powter, James Morrison
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: While you Run, and I Love Him
Weakness: Lackluster Mix and Production Quality
On “Far From The Sea,” one of the dreamy, atmospheric tracks on Chris Riffle’s latest EP Another Dream, the NYC based indie folk singer/songwriter shares the unique bicoastal spirit of his life and musical career. Since moving to New York five years ago from his home state of Washington, he’s settled into the famously gritty lifestyle of the Lower East Side while becoming a mainstay performer at the venerable Living Room, frequently collaborating with members of The Mars Volta, Ollabelle and Antony and the Johnsons. Riffle’s travels have taken him to both coasts including venues such as the famed Hotel Café in Los Angeles. He recently performed a sold out show at the Mercury Lounge, NYC, opening for Canadian indie darlings Walk Off The Earth.
The EP gently takes flight with “All that we Have” a smooth intro groove that serves up an inviting vocal groove against impressive fretwork, smooth as silk rhythm section and mesmerizing vocal delivery from Riffle. Track 2 “And I Love Him” presents a Beetles remake with a slight change of title and vocals, presents a slow moving piece that serves up a methodical musical build with a passionate melodic delivery with heartfelt vocals that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. Track 3 “While you Run” delivers a melodic masterpiece with impressive heartfelt movement, thought provoking lyrical content and hypnotic vocals from Riffle. The production quality is impressive and the musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. Along the way you will notice an array of instrumentation with things besides the four piece standard like piano, organ, keyboard, percussive accents built upon a solid rhythmic foundation. Song for song the combination of Riffle’s voice and earthy fretwork is masterful. Now turning our attention over to Riffle as for his vocal abilities - he is quite impressive. Riffle showcases an impressive vibrato, falsetto and overall vocal passion clearly a strong and confident vocal ability true to himself. I especially like how his voice just sort of flows and ebbs melodically with the music. This is an amazing quality that not many artists can execute. This X-Factor quality clearly makes Riffle an infectious and marquee talent. No doubt he has solid musical instincts behind the microphone. This CD from Riffle delivers 6 compelling tracks all providing an interesting snapshot of an amazing artist with thought provoking lyrical wisdom with messages that are positive, passionate and extremely captivating. From heartfelt “Far from the Sea” and compelling “Kiss on the Cheek” this EP has something for just about everyone. The EP ends with track 6 “Another Dream” the perfect wrap for a catalogue such as this.
This is not the best mix I’ve ever heard. At the end of the day it doesn’t stack up when compared to other world class musical productions within the genera and has a lackluster production quality to it.
I like everything about Chris Riffle. He’s truly an infectious artist that possess a "Gold Standard" - look, sound, appeal, talent and vocal passion, persona and presence. He is also is an impressive songwriter, vocalist and musical personality that will no doubt apeal to a strong and dedicated cult fanbase. From start to finish Another Dream is an impressive catalogue of music. The music is warm and earthy, highly passionate, uplifting and very passionate. The pin drop moments are amazing, and his passionate falsetto is to die for. The songwriting is an interesting snapshot of music from a clairvoyant artist that has quite a lot to offer. All songs are consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. Note for note, song for song this catalogue is extremely consistent and fills the space with what I would describe as peaceful yet passionate musical exuberance.
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