Chris Murray - Raw (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Chris Murray

Raw (2003)

Asian Man

Well, the album title didn't lie - This album definitely is raw. Chris Murray, former frontman for defunct ska band King Apparatus, has compiled 14 more of his 4-track rocksteady recordings for his second proper album on Asian Man Records.

While his previous album on Asian Man, "4-Trackaganza!", was also recorded with a 4-track, it contained a wider instrumentation than this album, which essentially just Chris and an acoustic guitar. The recordings on here, complete with little spoken intros and tape fuzz, showcase the superb songwriting skills of Murray, as well as his uncanny ability to place killer hooks in virtually every track.

But it's those hooks that essentially weigh this album down, instead of propping it up. Many of the songs contain simplistic one phrase choruses, and while it's catchy the first dozen times, when it's repeated dozens more in just a 3 or 4 minute span, it starts to grate on one's nerves. This also pertains to the aforementioned instrumentation - it's just a guitar and a voice. While Murray's gorgeous baritone is as lush as someone's can get on a 4-track, hearing the same upstrokes for 41 minutes straight also starts to press buttons.

But still, if you can look past the repetitiveness of the disc, this is a great capsule of the basic ska/rocksteady sound. Murray even co-wrote a song ["Make The Best"] with ska legend Neville Staple, who also sings on the track. Besides that, if you like the idea of a man and his guitar [and not being called Dashboard Confessional], give this a listen.

I'm Ready For Love
We Do The Ska

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