Review: Chancellorpink – Life Like Sad Music

Sticking to his promise to release an album every year until he dies, Ray McLaughlin AKA Chancellorpink unleashes the follow-up to last year’s anti-romance album ‘Valentine Parade’. Although ‘Life Like Sad Music’ sounds like a DIY album in many ways (particularly the production), this doesn’t detract significantly from much of the songwriting, which finds the crucial middle ground between miserablism and melody.

After the full-throated ‘Bleed The Enemy’, McLaughlin sounds thoroughly evil on the verses to ‘Walk On Water’ but still manages to conjure up a fine, melancholic chorus. Likewise, ‘Tears At The Cemetery’ possesses the hallmarks of quality dark pop music. Like his last record, McLaughlin is fond of varying his vocal stylings; even harmonising with himself on some of the tracks. Most of the time, the eclecticism pays off too.

Chancellorpink also performs well with slower material; the pretty guitar patterns on ‘Feet Shuffle Leaves’, the minimal, brooding ballad ‘In Self Defense’ and the romantic ‘You Are Everyone’ are all standouts. However, it’s a pity that more quality control wasn’t applied to some of the later material. ‘Three People Care’ seems rushed whilst an essentially good song like ‘Meat Market’ is undermined by the singer’s annoying refrain of “Are You Gonna Check Me Out?”. However, these are exceptions on an otherwise very enjoyable album.

Now more than ever, McLaughlin is heading towards the sinister but tuneful territory of Babybird and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. McLaughlin is clearly not quite as provocative in his lyrics but there’s that same sense of reclusive pop genius at work here.

Web Sites:
Chancellorpink Official Site
Chancellorpink MySpace

Further Listening:
Pony Club, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Babybird

1 Response to “Review: Chancellorpink – Life Like Sad Music”

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