Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Chris Pappas is the one-man
band Miracle Parade whose new CD, Hark And Other Lost Transmissions,
shows traces of acoustic pop, country-western folk, and roots rock
in its tunes. Engineered by Aaron Benson, the album features
lap steel guitarist Tim Walker, bassists Pierre de Reeder
and Zach Hickman, drummers Joe Seiders and Jared
Ainscough, guitarists Austin Nevins, Dan Peraino,
and Elliot Hunt, and vocalists Anne Heaton and Peter
Pappas. Chris Pappas might be the sole member of Miracle Parade
but he has quite a team to back him up.
The soft pop vibrations of "Lost At Sea" are elbowed in
the whining moans of Walker's lap steel while Pappas' vocals move
as slow as molasses dripping out of a bottle. The retro pop feel of
"Sweet Tooth" is berthed by sleek organ loops reminiscent
of '70s pop icons The Hollies planked by jutting beats reflective
of Wilco. The country western carriage of "Son, Son"
is clothed in misty atmospherics as the chugging chords of the guitar
hang the verses, pleading for redemption, "Son, son / Sorry I
traded you away
At the edge where your friends become your history
Son, son / you were half my heart."
Keeping in the vein of traditional country idioms, "Regarding
The Haunting at 16 Fairfield" is all vocals and acoustic guitars
as Pappas professes, "I swear this life is like a knife / It
will cut you to the bone if you don't use it right." The upbeat
tempo of "The Dying Physicist" supports Pappas' vocal peals
adding fiery emotions to the roots rock-driven track. The album courses
into poppy love terrain in "Change Of Heart," flooded in
sprinkling keys which, dire to say, are reminiscent of Rick Springfield's
'80s hit song "State Of The Heart."
Moving along, Pappas' ballad "When It's Your Time" has
a country pop sound as Walker's lap steel adds a homey porch-folk
texture to the track. "I'm On Your Side" also has a country/porch-folk
swagger as Pappas' vocals move slowly and pensively, before upping
the tempo in the marching rhythm of "Los Feliz Spiritual #41"
facilitated by Pappas' vocal strides. The organ drones in the undercurrent
of "The Largest Weight" are steepled by booming drumbeats
which vanish along the cruising lobes of the acoustic guitar through
"I Will Make You Love Me."
Chris Pappas canvasses a lot of ground in ...Lost Transmissions
demonstrating his versatility as a musician and songwriter. "Son,
Son" and "When It's Your Time" are some of the strongest
tracks on the album and most memorable with vocal hooks that make
an indelible imprint in the listener's mind.
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