Album Review: Chris Moreno – Into the Sun

Chris Moreno

photo courtesy of Chris Moreno

Chris Moreno – Into the Sun

Album Review of Chris Moreno: Into the Sun

Chris Moreno - Into the Sun

image courtesy of Chris Moreno

Matchbox 20. Chris Moreno‘s Into the Sun could be Matchbox 20’s new album. Stylistically, he mixes fast, slow, and soft strumming just like the alt-rock chart-toppers, peppering in catchy, hooky stretches that draw in the listener as if a deep secret or universal truth is about to be revealed. Just as compelling, Chris’ insistent, pleading, tuneful voice is so much like Rob Thomas’ I could easily confuse the two. The result is a disc full of easy-to-listen-to, moderately energetic, radio-ready songs that suggest Chris could be one hit movie song-placement away from the national consciousness.

First song “All I Need” has elements of Matchbox 20 (“3AM,” to be specific) with a bit of a Counting Crows (“Accidentally in Love”) vibe. Add a dash Hootie & the Blowfish and a bit of Nine Days (they of “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)”), and you’ve populated the neighborhood of Into the Sun, with perhaps Third Eye Blind or Semisonic living on the next block.

Chris Moreno

photo courtesy of Chris Moreno

Chris’ voice is clear and strong while carrying a raw, emotional edge. You can hear him emotionally connect with his lyrics, and you fully believe he feels what he sings.

I have a lot of favorites on this disc. I like the way “Finally Free” soars. The sparse-feeling opening instrumentation and slow build in the sensitive “Try.” And the insistent “Forgiven,” with Chris’ voice almost breaking in emotion as it reaches a powerful near-scream; the track also features a cool little well-placed rock guitar bridge that brings what had been a hidden driving force in the song briefly to the fore.

I like the role the horn plays in “Turn the Page,” giving it a bit of a different flavor. Then album-closer “Closer to You” starts with some stylish guitar-picking before again laying Chris’ emotion bare as it builds to power.

Chris Moreno

photo courtesy of Chris Moreno

This eight-song collection, Into the Sun, is a terrific introduction to a modern-day troubadour. Chris wears his ’90s and ’00s mainstream alt-rock influences on his sleeve, and the result is a timeless recording.

Looking ahead, I look forward to hearing more from Chris. And catching a live gig. This is versatile music that would sound its best acoustically or with a full band. Putting my producer hat on and looking toward his next album – and I’m not a producer, so I really just have this hat, but when I find a talented artist I like to think about how that artist might broaden their music’s reach while still remaining true to his or her trademark core sound – I’d love to hear him perform a romantic duet on his next disc with the right complementary female vocalist. And perhaps add a song or two that are piano-driven to showcase his voice in a different way. But Chris’ current release, Into the Sun, though it’s his debut album, is more than just a nice first step. It’s a quality rock album from an artist who has already arrived. Dude, it’s something special.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s