Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Christie Front Drive - Christie Front Drive (also known as Anthology) (1995)

Denver-based emo band Christie Front Drive was formed in the autumn of 1993 by singer/guitarist Eric Richter, guitarist Jason Begin, bassist Kerry McDonald and drummer Ron Marschall. Despite a relatively small recorded output which included a self-titled EP, a split ten-inch with Boy's Life and an appearance on the (Don't Forget to) Breathe compilation, the group quickly earned legendary status in emo circles, and remains a major influence on up-and-coming artists. Following the completion of the Stereo record, however, Christie Front Drive disbanded in May of 1996, with a handful of posthumous releases and reissues appearing in the years to follow. Begin and Marschall later reunited in the Blue Ontario, while Richter formed Antarctica.

Christie Front Drive’s debut album displays this flawlessly on their debut self-titled album which comprises of material from their first 7 and 12” releases. In my opinion, this is one of the most emotional albums you will ever hear. Scattered throughout this album are perfect melodies, great pacing, tremendous talent and passion.

The album starts with Turn. A droning guitar riff and soft melodic crooning come from lead singer Eric Richter. A higher pitched hammer-on riff sneaks its way in, and adds another level of melody to the song. Throughout this song, you can feel the emotion of Eric and you really get a sense of what he was going through when he wrote this. Having music do that someone is a very good sign, and thankfully, it never lets up. Next song, one of my personal favorites, Dyed On 8 begins with the band playing a start and stop kind of intro for a bit, until Eric comes in. It’s a shame I can’t find any lyrics for these guys, because I would love to sing along. Drums take the cake for me though, as drummer Ron Marschall does way more than what was asked. I’m not talking about any flashy solos or anything, but throwing in little surprises every once in a while.

All instruments throughout this album are phenomenal. Guitars create fantastic melodies, with the (audible) bass doing more than just following the same pattern as the guitars. It’s a shame most bass today isn’t audible, because they really are capable of a lot more than what they’re given to do. Drums, as said before, are superb. Even as monotonous as they are, you can tell how much emotion he puts into every hit of the snare and cymbals. Standout drum track would definitely be Long Out. Vocals are very much reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate’s Jeremy Enigk, but turned quieter in the mix, thus giving the instruments more time to shine. If I could change anything about this album, I’d want to raise the volume of the vocals, but that’s a small easily overlookable complaint.

Track highlight would be Slide. Quiet drums and a soft guitar line open the song, as both gradually develop more energy until they burst into a flurry of emotion. Listening to any song from this album after a break-up is a definite no-no seeing as how, if you feel the same I do about this kind of music, will definitely make you emotional. The production on this album also greatly helps the atmosphere of the album, as it sounds like you’re right there in the studio. Granted, it’s not crystal clear, but it has just the right amount of clarity, and the unintelligibility that makes it feel more raw and real than it would if it was recorded today. You simply don’t come across this kind of music anymore, and it’s a shame, because this is a big example of why the 90’s was one of the best decades for music.

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Christie Front Drive - Christie Front Drive (also known as Anthology) (1995) 320kbps

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