Friday, November 16, 2007

[Chris Garneau|Music For Tourists]旅人之歌

Artist:Chris Garneau
Album:Music For Tourists
Release Date:2007-01-23
Label:Absolutely Kosher Records
Genre: Rock
Style: Folk Rock, Acoustic


Castle-Time (3:58)
Relief (3:45)
Black & Blue (5:32)
Saturday (2:21)
So Far (4:23)
First Place (4:14)
Hymn (1:40)
Baby's Romance (4:37)
Not Nice (5:31)
Blue Suede Shoes (3:09)
We Don't Try (3:41)
Sad News (6:01)
Halloween (4:52)
Between The Bars (3:05)

Written-By - Elliott Smith

Chris Garneau, a young up-and-coming singer/songwriter from Brooklyn, NYC, released his first album, Music For Tourists, in January. Beautiful music... balanced on the edge of melancholy and hopefulness. For quiet evenings and pure mornings. Piano, cello, haunting and graduating acoustic melodies, beautiful airy vocals. Chris Garneau is a newcomer to Absolutely Kosher, he signed to the label earlier this year in Spring (thanks to Xiu Xiu´s Jamie Stewart´s recommendation). His first song, "Relief," was featured on the album "The Artist's Den, Vol.1". His popularity grew from his release unexpectedly quickly.

The novelty of the sensitive male alto wore off long ago; yes, the idea of the doe-eyed boy who sings of love in all its forms, when done well, can still certainly hold a great deal of appeal, but when it seems formulaic and forced, it's wholly forgettable. While Chris Garneau, the slight, piano-playing singer/songwriter with the high, breathy voice, is not an untalented musician, he unfortunately does little to set himself apart from the rest of the cadre. In fact, the most notable thing about him may be how relatively straightforward his music is. Produced by none other than Duncan Sheik, Garneau's debut, Music for Tourists, is composed of slow piano-and-string indie ballads that, though they occasionally threaten to turn into something powerful, more often stay with the same barely breathing, minor-keyed, quarter-noted chord progressions that stick and falter in their own reflection like dull scissors cutting through contact paper. Garneau does periodically employ a kind of super-syncopated and super-enunciated twee phrasing, like in "Castle Time," when he sings, "My teacher died/Even the frying pan cried," that distinguishes him and his über-preciousness and gives him some individual character, but this is more bothersome and affected than endearing. The few moments where passion overtakes him and his voice drops and fills out, like in "Sad News" or "Relief," are more honest and bare than anytime Garneau sings sorrowfully "I'm sorry he brought us there/Me, crying in my underwear," and give a welcome glimpse of the person behind the sometimes-corny, sometimes-insightful lyrics (the rather inane "I love the way you dance.../Don't you miss your chance" coupled with the brilliant "I didn't go to see the city/I went to see it around you" in "Relief"). But too much of the album gets caught in the shallow grave of introspection, struggling half-heartedly to pull itself out, already resigned to unremarkable misery, just like everyone else. Perhaps the most telling moment of this in on the bonus track, a cover of Elliott Smith's "Behind the Bars." Where Smith was able to convey very real-sounding and often subtle layers of despair in his voice, Garneau just seems like he's trying to be fragile, barely reaching the high notes and affecting an almost-Irish accent on some of the vowels, simply because that's what he thinks he's supposed to do. He's suffering from a lack of presence, if anything, which makes Music for Tourists, with all its bright spots, a cumbersome affair.

這是我今年年初聼過的一張專輯了,又算是一張雅俗共賞的流行專輯了,很多人聼過也有很多人喜歡。今天在從北京回家的路上一直在聼,原來事隔將近一年了,它的美麗與安詳仍然對我具有著吸引力,仍然讓我能夠感覺路途上的寧靜與盼望。Music For Tourists,真的是一種心靈上的慰藉。每當Castle-time開篇的鋼琴聲響起,我就能感覺到身上似乎折射著陽光,漫長的旅途上我並不孤獨,或許是因爲這似乎帶著孤獨感的音樂使旅途上的我那樣與衆不同。

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