Thursday, April 18, 2013

Chris Wollard And The Solo Thieves

"Obey and enjoy the genre." Michael Moorcock.

"They said guitar solos aren't punk rock, well, fuck you!" Chris Wollard.

I'm gonna talk about Canyons, the newish record by Chris Wollard And The Ship Thieves now.

It sounds like Chris Wollard having fuckin' fun. Hot Water Music (from which the songwriter and performer cannot possibly be divorced from now) is, well, emotive and anthemic. I wrote about "Seein' Diamonds." I could also write about "Paper Thin" or "The End." Best I don't.

Canyons? Unlike that. Joyous, packed full of guitar solos. I don't even like guitar solos, but I succumb to this disc. Do you need me to tell you what "Poison Friends" is about? I don't think so. "Sick, Sick Love?" Nah. You want anthems? Get outta town. I suspect Hot Water Music songs are a document of his life, but Ship Thieves doesn't have to be. Ship Thieves is "oh man, this is awwwwwwwwwesome."

I think Canyons is Chris Wollard's id.

What I'm trying to say is that it's a long jump from Ship Thieves to Hot Water Music.

(There will be no swimming jokes. Canyons' cover has a bird in flight on it and I am committed to theme.)

None of these songs would be amiss coming through a speaker at a hardware store. Well, they might sound a lot more polished, more soundly constructed, a lot fucking better, but they'd still fit right in. Well, okay. "Dream In My Head" is a little short for 93X the Rock crowd ("Working for the weekendtm", with a forty five minute commercial free block coming up in three and a half hours) or whomever, but it's short enough for the Hot Water followers to get a grasp of what comes next.

The trick Chris Wollard and the Ship Thieves pull here is that they make it look casual. Tossed off. Of course it isn't. Of course it takes work. Of course these songs took days to put together, but the germs of them came naturally, I'm sure.

Ever hear a friend of yours talk about something they love and you get lost and enraptured in their enthusiasm for it and skill at it? That's what Canyons is. It is a vector for Chris Wollard's considerable enthusiasm for guitar rock. There's a ZZ Top shaped hole in my guitar music listening, so I have to be careful about how I talk about Canyons, because there's genre staples I know only from parody. Pretending to type with authority here sounds problematic.

In a sentence: I am prejudiced against guitar solos and I cannot help but enjoy Canyons.

Sadly, this song is not "Dream In My Head." It is called "Poison Friends." But! For "Poison Friends" not being "Dream In My Head," it's pretty good. Play guitar solos! Drink beer! Et al!

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