Chris Velan: Solidago

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By: Dennis Cook

There’s a lubricated slide to Chris Velan‘s music, voice, general steez. He moves with unhindered slickness, going down real easy on his third album, Solidago (released April 7 on NewSong Recordings). There’s nothing wrong with accessible stuff, per se, and the latest from this Montreal-based singer-songwriter is a pleasant reminder that chart potential doesn’t necessarily equal artistic paucity. Produced by Tim Bluhm (The Mother Hips), Solidago is honey sweet and almost too easy to like. There’s no doubt that the same social networking, latte drinking gals that gobble up John Mayer and Jack Johnson will find much to swoon over here – Velan’s yearning, sexy voice, the warm, interesting guitars, the general coastal sunset pop vibe – but Bluhm’s presence is a hint of the subtle layers in what may seem known territory. Further bolstered by contributions from Jackie Greene, drummer Adam Topol (Jack Johnson), Dan Lebowitz (ALO), horn player David Ralicke (Dengue Fever), Sarah Johnston (Bran Van 3000) and Bluhm himself, as well as other Hips, Solidago is open-handed listening that’s not simple or pandering – it’s just bloody catchy. Caught up in the island rhythms, analog synths, inviting sax and sensuous picking, one discovers inner sway and smiles, and that, friends, is a fine thing.

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