Chris Farren Strikes Infectious, Sentimental Ground on Debut LP
by Brody Coronelli
Chris Farren is no stranger to churning out wildly infectious, pop-driven songs with serious emotional undercurrent hidden via mid-tempo luminosity. Farren got his foot in the door as the singer of Naples, Florida centered band Fake Problems. After a period of collaboration with Jeff Rosenstock (Arrogant Sons of Bitches, Bomb The Music Industry!) that led to their excellent project Antarctigo Vespucci, Farren set out to establish a solo career. Can’t Die is his first full-length offering as a solo artist, and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time.
Can’t Die is all about taking heavy themes involving love, loss, social anxiety, and death, then dressing them up in bright, mid-tempo pop-rock that won’t only get stuck in your head, but will also send your head spinning if you look deep enough. Giving these dark sentiments the luminosity worthy of a lead single is admirable, and Farren does this exceptionally well without losing touch of the emotional core of these tracks. “Human Being” is one of Farren’s best songs thus far, weaving themes of social disconnection together within layers of sparkling power-pop and a touch of chiptune. The lead single “Say U Want Me” resonates on a similar level, boasting an array of heavier guitar tones and an infectious spirit that both resolve into a pop-sensible, lively declaration of affection. With the steadiness and contemplation of a late-night drive, “Still Beating” also finds the common ground between pop and something more emotive.
What’s remarkable about Can’t Die, however, is Farren’s ability to utilize multiple styles in a way that still feels collective and whole. “I’m Not You” is a blossoming romp that makes room for an accordion and saxophone. Similarly, “Flowers” takes a doo-wop-reminiscent progression and unfolds into a Beatles-esque rumination on love.
On Can’t Die, it’s clear that Chris Farren wanted to make more than “just” a pop album. Although that’s what we have on the surface, there’s a deeper meaning to this infectious, pop-sensible songwriting. Upon looking deeper, Farren worked with a collective group of different styles, influences, and tones with the common goal of coming together to cope with the nature of being human. With wisdom and sentimentality held that close, death isn’t coming by anytime soon.
Listen to: Human Being, Still Beating
Can’t Die is out now on SideOneDummy records.