Chris Titchner: Already Gone
[Self-released; Feb. 24]
Though he works full-time as a gigging musician, it’s been more than a decade since Raleigh’s Chris Titchner has released an album of his own. That fallow spell ended at The Wake Forest Listening Room on Sunday, when Titchner released Already Gone, which sounds like the work of a greener musician—in a good way, mostly.
Titchner, a sprightly acoustic guitarist and singer, has a fresh, springy sound, bright and coursing like a brook. He also has a clear, natural voice and a knack—for better and worse—for fitting long, complex, grammatically correct speeches into catchy singalong tunes. Though his folk-pop songs are professionally wrought, his energy is more eager, earnest college student than grizzled songwriter, and the combination is musically winning.
The album opens with “I’ll Come Back Around,” where a fine, flitting melody and Titchner’s lightly dancing voice buoy up his apologetic second-person lyrics. This mode of address always makes me feel like I’m uncomfortably eavesdropping, and it pervades the album. On the second song, “Hold Up,” the gracious acres of ringing chords, ropy leads, and pop-country-radio-worthy choruses hold more appeal than the interpersonal litigation of the verses.
As a musician and songwriter, Titchner is sound, but his overall vision still needs focusing. Though the acoustic palette holds the album together, he sometimes seems to be checking off boxes to see what will stick. There are blowsy jazz horns on Luddite anthem “Kerosene.” “Day Old Ticker Tape Parade” is like acoustic Death Cab for Cutie. “I Don’t Mind” is basically the album’s “Nightswimming.”
Next time, Titchner might do well to go all in on a writerly noir vibe, like The Old Ceremony, or on the unfussy singer-songwriter fare of his own “No Easy Way Out.” And dial down that pesky pronoun. I don’t know about you, or “you,” but I don’t like spending too long in someone else’s argument, which slightly sours an album otherwise notable for its sweet, inviting sound.
Contact arts and culture editor Brian Howe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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