CD Review: Chris English – “Dreamtown”

An experienced musician and active commercial producer, Chris English weaves a lush sonic tapestry on “Dreamtown.” The sound is reminiscent of Colin Moulding of XTC with a dash of Peter Gabriel prog folk. Opening with the REM-like title track, Chris makes it clear he uses the harmonic elements of both electric and acoustic guitars, with delicate female vocal harmony in the background. A bit of electric folk pop is evident in “I Can See Everything” and the lovely follow up “Autumn” sounds like it came off XTC’s Mummer. These sweet delicate tones are made for perfect relaxed listening. “Without You” also seduces the listener with wonderful harmonies and chord changes here. Occasionally a bit of Alan Parsons styled AOR shows up (“Downtime” and “The Letter”) but it fails to make much of an impression. Another highlight is “I Can Take It” with it’s smooth piano chords and layered melody. Later in the album the songs pick up tempo, with the Beach Boys-like “Summer Revisited” and “Sunshine Routine” – I just wish Chris’ vocals were stronger here, as they float above the melodies, like having two sets of backing vocals. The epic ending track “God Is In The Silence” is a great celestial ballad with some Dark Side Of The Moon production techniques. Jeff Larson, Andrew Gold and Jeffrey Foskett fans will want to pick this one up for sure. If you enjoy highly textured baroque pop, you will love Chris English.

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