Chet, just one of Ryan Beattie’s prolific musical projects, certainly isn’t lacking in ambition on Chelsea Silver, Please Come Home. Each song is a grand suite built with thick layers of instrumentation and heavy on emotion. They’re also built as sturdy guitar pop that shifts to pastoral folk on “Saint Jerome, My Baby Tames Lions” or campfire balladry on “Every Night a Supper Wine”. But as beautifully constructed as these songs can be, they rest too much on a community-theater melodrama that pushes them way over the top. To a track, the album outstays its welcome, taking hushed pop tunes and devolving them into histrionic confusion where drums clang chaotically, Beattie’s voice tumbles across scales high and low, and its charming curl gets lost the minute he starts to sing. A distinct sound is in here somewhere—one filled out by the echo of guitar and anchored by stripped-down but well-placed percussion. All too often on Chelsea Silver, Please Come Home, those quieter successes get buried in thick layers of stage makeup.
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// Notes from the Road
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