Album Review of Chris Pellnat: Rain (Houdini Mansions Records)
Artistry and songwriting skills. These are at the core of Chris Pellnat‘s Rain. His delivery is very singer-songwritery. Softspoken and matter-of-fact. The instrumentation is light and airy most of the time – its quirky cheerfulness often belying the seriousness of the lyrics – with occasional well-placed additional instrumentation.
Speaking of well-placed additional instrumentation, “Hold Me Now” opens the disc in carnival-esque fashion, with crashing waves of music providing emphasis. “Vie Vie Vie Vie Vie” follows with a tempo that suggests the song is walking along at an uneven gait, perhaps followed by all of the town’s children, as if a pied piper. Next up, “Black-Eyed Susans and Queen Anne’s Lace” continues that tempo, but with intriguing bridges tying the choruses to the subsequent verses.
The harmonica lead-in to “It’s a Cruel, Cruel World” hints at a musical change of pace, though it’s just a modest one. I dig the lyrics, too; no sugar-coating.
“Turning of the Zodiac” is a quirky number – you’ll find yourself singing along with the “boop” sound, for goodness’ sake! – and sports brief sixties psychedelic instrument cameos, as if drawn by the word “zodiac” to this musical summer of love.
On the back half of the album, I’m probably most drawn to a couple of the tunes. “Anything At All,” for its dark melancholy. And “Honor Bound,” though perhaps mostly because I dig the harmonica bits.
I also enjoy the final song, “Rain,” a memorable song with a bit of a hook that includes a hint of the musical crashing found to open the disc, this time in the form of storm clouds, providing a bit of a stylistic bookend.
Throughout, Chris’ original delivery provides a cohesive, memorable canvas for this collection of songs. The songs themselves are so tight and carefully written, they’d be equally compelling with different delivery styles and lusher production. As I mentioned at the beginning, the dude’s a songwriter. A talented one.