20080621

Chris Merritt and the Fabric of Reality


As an artist, making a double-album takes balls. A double-album is an auditory finger to anyone who was even thinking about taking just a cursory listen. At the same time, it's an artistic risk on par with the dreaded "concept album". If you can't deliver the goods, you're going down like the Hindenburg.

Chris Merritt knows these things and he probably doesn't care. He knows he's got it. He knows he's going to lead off both discs with five-fingered-fists-of-melodic-fury and you'll be on the ropes. TKO, baby.

Listening to Pixie and the Bear, it's like sitting in the den watching 8mm's of the last 15 years of Chris' life. He names names. He tells you like it is. In the first line of the record, he's gonna "drive up north to get some." Einstein, Hawking, and Dawkins meant a lot to him. His thoughts on L4YER CAKE: "The movie's gnarly, but I'm retarded. The drugs they're taking is how I'm feeling." It's all here, all heart and introspection, laid down amidst a myriad of Beach Boys-esque harmonies, 8-bit Nintendo samples, classical piano, and the talented assistance of bassist Dustin Hofheins and drummer Tim Fellow. This is musical non-fiction.

This album is exactly as it should be. Beautiful ballads tumble into sweeping dynamic epics which saunter into glitchy, bitcrushing hip-shakers. It has the unchained personality of early Ben Folds, censors be damned. And while that comparison is inevitable, Chris's quality songwriting output is staggering in its own right. This record is nothing other than Chris Merritt, at his best, his ivory keys unlocking doors you never knew existed.

Listen:
The Long Road
Dr. Jerk
[from Pixie and the Bear|buy]

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