SpekkiChris
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SpekkiChris

London, England, United Kingdom | SELF

London, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic

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Artist: Spekki Chris
Album: Spekki Chris Is In [2007]
Label: Independent

Genre: Jazz-Pop, Folk Rock and Pop
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9.0/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 9.0/10
CD Review:

If the Dave Matthews Band's jazzier energy is just right for Friday evenings, and if John Mayer's emotive singer songwriting croons through lazy Sunday afternoons, then Spekki Chris's latest 'Spekki Chris Is In' is the perfect music for free and easy in-between weekend musical moods.

Spekki's intoxicating fusion of lush, laid-back songs strikes the perfect balance between the originally melodic and the truly catchy. Amazingly, nowhere is there a hint of commercialization, and with Spekki less concerned about firing off hit singles, his concentration on how the record should sound and feel as a whole brings a strong offering to the jazz/folk-pop table.

If you're going to fire off an album, why not aim high? Launching into wet wahs and plucked acoustic chords, 'Spaceship' begins to expand the jazz-pop framework, pushing at the seams with powerful subtleties: evolving vocal and drum polyrhythms that will immediately set your musical imagination ablaze. With one's interest captivated by the end of the song, the low-fi opening of 'The Last Time' is a bit of a tease, testing the listener to see if they can focus not only on the acoustic guitar bliss, but also keep up with vivid and quickly moving melodies racing ahead. Thankfully, Spekki allows time for the listener to collect their breath from the velocity of the rapidly descending bass and guitar melodies - but it isn't long before the piece accelerates upwards into the mother of all things amazing about pop choruses, followed by ethereal layered vocal passages and evocative electric guitar interjections.

Elevating James Taylor's classic singer-songwriter sound to a far more involving degree in 'Car Crash', lines such as 'And even my shoelaces look up and tell me / To take a look around' effectively put the world on pause, inspiring a childlike excitement of discovering the smaller joys in life. Fortunately, the comfortable feeling Spekki creates doesn't stop right there. Sharing the same title as Feist's latest hit (minus the pre-adolescent ramblings), Spekki's own '1 2 3 4' wraps its warm arms around the listener, brilliantly colouring the folk-pop sound with an intoxicating blend of alternating upbeats, smile-inducing accordion lines and masterful guitar finger work.

Sustaining resonance with the listener after an album has finished is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. Amazingly, Spekki's songs last long after they've packed up and moved on - a testament to the power of his creative brilliance and emotional sincerity. You can't help but find yourself falling head over heels for the charm of pieces like 'Monkey' that start off as a slow, (almost) wandering ballad which suddenly erupts into an all-out full band feature, racing with guitars, drums and monkey calls. Even the smallest details, such as little melodic drum breaks between the acoustic guitar rhythm in 'Sweet Green', or things as simple as the faint echoes of a vibraphone tracing the song's progression, are some of the many other details that will feed the desire to revisit the album.

From a technical standpoint, Spekki Chris Is In is gorgeously produced. You can feel the room dissolve into the atmospheres he's created in works like 'Storm Song' through the use of nothing more than a piano and hint of percussion. Additionally, Spekki's immaculately recorded, mellow, low- to mid-range vocals are never passive or understated, even when they have to compete for attention in works like the acoustic and mandolin-driven, 'Kathmandu Kite Flying'.

For a first full-length release, Spekki Chris Is In is astounding. This is a 'record' in the truest sense: you won't ever need to employ the 'next' button. While it isn't anything groundbreaking, the album is far from commercially sour thanks to the fact it easily speaks to both casual listeners and musicians alike. Spekki has created an artistic masterpiece that showcases his ability to write beautiful and engaging songs, which will no doubt be talked about long after the album's finished. Highly recommended.

The Verdict: 9.3/10
- Alex Jasperse, The Muse's Muse - 03/22/2008


Judging by his promotion material, the wonderfully named Spekki Chris doesn't go a bundle on self-promotion; his press-pack is low key almost to the point of being self-deprecating - Spekki Chris seems to have a very laid back approach to his music and his musical world. Well, I'm just gonna have to burst his protective bubble coz 'Spekki Chris Is In' is a fine piece of work in every aspect.

Beautifully presented and packaged, 'Spekki Chris Is In' is a quite unusual piece of work; Spekki describes himself 'in five words' as 'smooth, with very sharp edges'. Now that my friends is one perceptive and well thought out piece of writing! Spekki Chris has summed himself better than I ever could coz this album is exactly that; this is one very clever album that's as smooth as silk but razor sharp in its composition. 'Spekki Chris Is In' is, I suppose, grown-up pop/folk - simple in form but beautifully rounded, well polished and superbly delivered.

Spekki Chris' music is well considered music that sneaks up on you, cuddles you close and makes you feel warm and safe. This is educated, inoffensive music that yer kids and yer old gran could listen to and enjoy to equal degrees. Now I hope I'm not doing Spekki Chris an injustice with my words but, there's something very homely and satisfying about this album. And, you can almost feel the dedication and attention to detail that's gone into its making - 'Spekki Chris Is In' is just so exquisitely worked!! The 'main man' has taken time to get this right, he's gathered together a band of similarly minded, versatile and soulful musicians to support him with his 'creation' and it's paid off big-style!

Where, or to what genre, does Spekki Chris belong? Who knows!! And who cares!! Suffice to say that Spekki syncopates with mildly jazzy grooves as he gently but sincerely rocks out, his down-home narrative would be appreciated by folksters and he even slips towards the odd country vibe here and there. At its heart 'Spekki Chris Is In' is simply great music and it matters not what genre or sub-genre or sub-sub-genre it purports or tries to be.

'Spekki Chris Is In' by Spekki Chris is rather a pleasant and rewarding change from much of what's goin' on musically at the moment. Given the right sort of promotion (Chris, I suggest you get someone else to do that for you!!), 'Spekki Chris Is In' could actually do very well - I think it would take a little while to gain momentum but once up and running this could prove to be a sturdy workhorse of an album for this very talented and modest singer/songwriter/musician. I love it and I'm sure many of you will love it too!

Peter J Brown aka toxic pete (www.toxicpete.co.uk)
- Toxic Pete


· Posted by: Kev: 04 Feb 2008
· Beat Surrender Rating: 4 stars

Spekki Chris is believe it or not, a guy called Chris who happens to wear glasses, he also doesn't have any hair looking at his MySpace site, but possibly in fear of a Larry David style backlash for persecuting bald people he's left that detail out of the bands name.

Spekki Chris Is In is the debut album from him following on from 2003's Spin Cycle EP. Not sure why but looking at the glossy digipack cover I had a feeling it would be my sort of thing and listening to it hasn't changed my opinion on that.
It's a wonderfully diverse album, with the pace of things constantly changing, but all in keeping with a sense of pop and a delightful twist of harmony. As well as the pace changing you also get a wide variety of instruments used, so on 1234 you get a lovely bouncy feel to the track as piano and accordion vie for attention in spectacular fashion.

The album as well as having some upbeat numbers on it, also benefits from some really soulful moments. Car Crash is a prime example of this, a very soulful track that has a jazzy feel to it.

- The Beat Surrender: Online Music Magazine


Discography

2003 'Spin Cycle EP' (o.o.p.)

2007 'spekki chris is in'

2011 'Now in 3D'

Photos

Bio

Ten things you never knew about SpekkiChris:

1. SpekkiChris are a four-piece folk-jazz band based in North London. Spekki himself is also a member of the secretive North London Kazoo Orchestra.

2. Raised in Macclesfield, Spekki is a self-taught guitarist, although before escaping the town as a teenager he was taught guitar for a few months by Phil McCavity of Macc Lads fame.

3. Spekki Chris began playing live in 1998 and it took a decade for the current band to form around him. He’s joined by Alan Kenning, the mysterious Emergency Bassman, at the bottom end; the inscrutable jazz stylings of Roman Turtev in the rhythm department; and the silken meanderings of Callum Train on things with keys.

4. As a band SpekkiChris have played in venues across the UK, in Ireland and Slovakia, including the Secret Garden Party and Klikkfest.

5. Other people have said of SpekkiChris: ‘beautifully rounded tunes’ and ‘fantastic lyrics’ ‘superbly delivered’ with ‘wit, charm and inspirational guitar playing.’

6. SpekkiChris' music has been compared to John Mayer, John Martyn, Roy Harper and Steely Dan.

7. The debut full-length album ‘spekkichris is in’ was produced by renowned fusion/ rock guitarist Keith More.

8. At least one member of SpekkiChris will be wearing spectacles at all times.

9. A close relative of one band member is the Slovakian national pipe-smoking champion.

10. SpekkiChris have at least one song about monkeys.

Contact: spekkichris@gmail.com
Tel: 07865 037800

See also

www.spekkichris.com
www.myspace.com/spekkichris

for more stuff.