Trying to nail down Spekki Chris' musical style is a bit like trying to catch a greased pig…in a vaseline factory…on a rainy day…in the dark: you know it's there and keep trying to wrestle it to a decisive understanding, and all it does is chuckle and move on. This, though it may not seem so, what with a fetishization of swine and such, is a compliment, as Now in 3D is a sparkling and astonishingly savvy CD, a disc rooted very firmly in highly polished presentation and elevated musical acumen, it also manages to be both extremely radio friendly and engrossingly artistic beyond mainstream norms. Thus, many, over the course of two other releases, have drawn allusions to John Martyn, Steely Dan, and Roy Harper, all of which are marvelous analogs, but I'd toss in Al Stewart, Sniff 'n the Tears, Interview, the mellifluous side of the CandyRat label, and quite a few others who have obtained all too small a domain in the media landscape (well, except for Don Fagen & Co., of course).
The oddly named Chris is a master of the dramatic build-up and release/resolve, sonically and literately, as She was Poor but She was Honest well illustrates, several times cascading rising and falling actions against thematics, the tale of a girl caught in the grinding wheels of circumstance, eventually to end up in a cold cold river, a connotedly universal tale where "the rich one gets the pleasure" and the rest of us obtain sweet fuck-all, the mass of "the poor what gets the blame". You Stole my Tune is likewise threnodic and gritty, stripped to a folk base and anguished over. Ah, but the follow-on, Dr. Ambeker's Fantastic Formula gets right back to a brisk up-tempo number without sacrificing an iota of Chris' passion and sometimes nail-gun-spat verses. Most of the cuts follow this bouncing zesty ambiance, and you never know quite what to expect, like that loopy slide solo in Born for Something Else, inventive, strange, and catchy.
The title to this CD isn't just fanciful hype either: the liner sports 3-D art and you get a pair of red/blue specs inside (and here you thought that kinda thing just occurred in \comic books anymore!), but the sobriquet also refers to the ambiance of the music all in all, an escapade of fully illuminated pathways, cut to cut, cheek to jowl, each number an exercise in fully scripted sound and vibrant narratives bursting with energy and fresh takes on well-turned modes. In a better world where the wheel greasing of money and immovably ensconced show biz kids (there's that Fagen refrain again!) weren't able to blockade the onramps, this disc would very rapidly displace much of an all too prevalent mediocrity back to where it belongs (a stall to the rear of the Kentucky Fried Chicken stand where gang graffiti and a remarkable stench prevail) and re-start the entire meritocratic process.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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