Guitar strummed with Chris Cheney’s familiar, purposeful intent launches opener 'Impossible Dream'.
“It all started back then, when she first came around/ She said, ‘I feel so sorry for you fuck-ups, but I love what you’re puttin’ down’…” – as soon as Cheney’s raspy, world-weary vocal kicks in it’s immediately apparent that The Living End frontman’s musical identity is completely different on his solo output.
We detect Springsteen inspo, lyrically and structurally, and also a nod to early-‘80s Bryan Adams: “He-ey, it’s alright/ We’re all doin’ our best just tryin’a survive… We’ll remember these days were the best of our lives.”
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Throughout the course of The Storm Before The Calm, Cheney’s voice is given plenty of space in the mix to flex while he draws inspiration from some deeply personal life events – a breakdown, substance abuse, marital issues, mourning the loss of his father – and his tour-ravaged, smoked-a-few-darts-in-my-time timbre adds extra cred to this revelatory collection of songs.
His vocals even channel Keith Urban during the stripped-back acoustic ‘Football Team’ (no shit!). “One more lonely fall from grace…” – the dapper, polished tone Cheney adopts in ‘Still Got Friday On My Mind’ calls to mind Robbie Williams. What’s happening!? We never would’ve foreseen name-checking those two particular gents in relation to Cheney, either, but there you have it!
Rollicking piano is a welcome recurring motif throughout ‘The Storm Before The Calm’, which chronicles the trials and tribulations of this thrill-seeking music lifer/rock’n’roll survivor. “I’m not afraid to walk alone,” Cheney sings during the intensely dramatic ‘Exile’ and neither he should be ‘cause his solo work definitely has legs.
Release date: 17 June