Cloud Souvenirs by Chris Staples Album Review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions


Cloud Souvenirs

Chris Staples

Chris Staples has been making his faithful, mumbly bedroom indie music for almost twenty years, including releases on Death Cab for Cutie’s label, Barsuk Records out of the PNW. His latest album, no departure from his tried and true formula of simple but evocative arrangements and witty, puzzly, bare all songs, is yet a collection of new songs with new thoughts. Collected all under the title, Cloud Souvenirs, it is sure to please his long time fans. And, with his recent Tik Tok length videos that show him feeling ever more at home in his humble but humorous public persona, probably a slew of new, younger fans, too.

The song “Souvenirs” gives a little window into the title of the album, where he talks about how all of the things that he sees in his hometown, (“Baseball diamonds, waterfront parks / Cemeteries after dark / Quiet places with no name / Where long shadows remain,”) “souvenirs” that remind him of other things that have happened in his life, remain a powerful anchor to his listless soul. “What is gone is still here.” The album is full of these “clouds” like friendly or sometimes guilty and gray ghosts, that haunt his life, a hard won life as an indie rocker with a faithful following.

“All my dreams come true,” he sings towards the end of the album. “But I only got a few.” “I wanna play guitar in my own backyard / I wanna drive around in a paid off car / I wanna work for myself / But not so hard / Not so hard.” He has found a rhythm to his life and shares it on this record, on social media, on his Patreon, like gold mined from life’s sometimes disappointing and discombobulating experience, which he also talks about with clarity and comfort.

He’s a brilliant turner of phrase. “Why you so scared about some dead air? / Why you wanna fill it like an eclair?” And his simple arrangements are yet filled with clever instrumental accoutrements, like the brilliant but subtle horns on “Dreams Come True,” the bendy distorted guitar to end out “Burnout Together,” or the super satisfying synthesizer solo to finish “Take Your Time.”

Overall, it’s a super satisfying record from one of modern indie rocks most faithful writers. If you like this album, it’s almost certain you’ll like his old stuff as well. Following in the footsteps of David Bazan, who’s also on the Barsuk record label, he is going out on a house show tour this summer, where you might be able to catch him and his humble, humorous rock. It’s always a good day, when a new Chris Staples’ record comes out.

order Cloud Souvenirs by Chris Staples HERE

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