Solo artist, Chris Lister proves to be quite a surprise with his debut release, Empty Time. The stunning eight-track album is a piece to remember with a handful of surprises around every corner. Acoustic tones blend with expressive melodies, as it quickly proves to be a must have for those who enjoy the Singer-Songwriter genre. For those who enjoy the works of musicians such as Jack Johnson and David Gray, Chris Lister is on his way to becoming the same caliber as those seasoned artists who have just been mentioned. Are you ready to give this record a listen?
Opening the record is the upbeat and quirky track titled “Stung by a Stingray.” One element that stands out at first and foremost, is Lister's vocals. Providing a smooth and straight to the point sound, this is one of the key elements throughout Empty Time. Clocking in at a little under 7 minutes, this manages to be a great opening to the record.
Taking the tone of the record down a bit is the title track, Empty Time, which brings out the sultry side of this phenomenal collection of songs. Lister's vocals are subtly raspy as they evoke such emotion that the listener can feel within every lyric. Gentle acoustic guitars blend with quiet electrics as this dreamy ballad takes you on a journey.
Up next is the poppy and danceable “Blocking Gaps,” which is quite a lovely little departure from the rest of the album. Bringing in a slight pop-punk element, but not overdoing it by any means (which is a good thing!), this fun song on the record is one you will want to be blaring in your car stereo over and over again.
“The Fixer,” takes the record down another musical road that isn't quite as cohesive with the rest of the tracks. An interesting song for that matter, the use of synths that slightly mimic an old Rhodes piano are used to create and whimsical effect that is a departure from the straightforward guitar based pieces on Empty Time.
“No Money No Honey,” brings the record back on track as it is laced with a tinge of Blues, with gently picked guitar solos, and Lister's voice taking on the duty of a seasoned Soul man. The tune is one that will surely grab your attention. “With You,” takes the album up a notch with a blend of brightly strummed acoustic guitars as Lister's voice goes up and down throughout the piece, slightly changing his vocal range.
“Island Life,” is a gorgeous track that proved to be a personal favorite on Empty Time, immediately. Lister's voice is spot on in the piece, as it is surrounded by softly strummed acoustics that create such a beautiful tone throughout. Slight mandolin sounding instruments also help bring the song to life.
Closing out the album is the intriguing track, “Drifting.” Sonically enhanced vocals come together with quiet, yet noticeable, backing harmonies that help surround the instruments of the track. This is a charming way to close out the record, although it does stray away from the main musical aspects of the rest.
Empty Time is a wonderful album that bares the very soul of Chris Lister. His knack for writing a great folk laced song, is near perfection. Eager fans will be on the edge of their seats to hear what Lister has to offer next. Empty Time is a stunning piece that will not only intrigue you, but will hold your attention for years, and listens, to come.
Artist: Chris Lister
Album: Empty Time
Review by Melissa Nastasi
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)