CD Review: Chris Picco – On The Beach

Chris Picco is best know as the singer of the Newfoundland rock band, Long Distance Runners. His third album, The Beach, provides Picco the opportunity to explore the softer side of music and the result is a finely crafted, well-written collection of songs that wash over the listener like…well…waves at the beach.

I had four recurring thoughts as I listened to The Beach numerous times on a recent trip from Halifax to Moncton (and back).  1) The Beach is like a fine collection of short stories; 2) Picco’s music in comparison to Long Distance Runners reminds me of the comparison of David Usher’s solo music to the music of Moist; 3)  The Beach explores many themes to which I can easily relate; and 4) The Beach is an album everyone should listen to.   Let me expand:

1.  The Beach is like a fine collection of short stories

(photo credit: Carol Kean)

There are 10 songs on this album.  None more than 4:30 minutes long.  Most in the mid three-minute range.  Each song is distinctly Picco, yet each song is different.  Picco even explores a few different musical genres.   Picco’s stellar song-writing and ability to write a catchy and heartwarming song keep you listening from one song to the next – like a fine collection of short stories.

The Beach consists of catchy country songs (“Rodeo Girl” and “Real Estate Man”), jazzy numbers (“Let’s Talk About Love”), introspective love songs (“In Your Light”, “The Good Within”, “You’re So Real  and “Worth Believing”), protest songs (“Johnny Came Home) and a beautiful haunting song in memory of Picco’s mother (“The Beach”) .

All of these songs somehow fit cohesively together in this album.  Like a book of short stories they allow the listener to move from one story to another quickly, never wishing to take a break.  Always knowing that the stories are different, but always knowing that the stories come from the same place.

2. Picco’s music reminds me of the comparison of David Usher’s solo music to the music of Moist

Long Distance Runners
(photo credit: Matt Howells)

Moist is a Canadian alternative-rock band that gained prominence in the mid 1990’s following the release of their debut album, Silver, and the singles “Push”, “Silver” and “Believe Me”.  Moist is led by a dynamic front man with an amazing voice – David Usher.  During Moist’s heyday, Usher released his first solo album titled Little Songs (still one of my favourite all-time albums).  Little Songs showed a softer, more introspective, side of Usher.

Picco’s The Beach reminded me of this comparison between Usher’s solo music and Moist’s music.  The songs on the album show a different side of Picco.  They are softer, more introspective, would not necessarily fit on a Long Distance Runners album, yet need to be shared.

3. The Beach explores many themes to which I easily relate

Chris Picco and the Long Distance Runners perform March 8 @ Rising Star Showcase at Casino Nova Scotia. They were nominated for 'Rock Recording of the Year'.

(photo from: The Independent)

I found it easy to relate to the songs on this album and a few times found myself thinking that “this is a song I would write, if I could write songs”.  Maybe it is because we both come from the same hometown, but I don’t think that’s it.  I think that the universal themes of love, relationships, friendship and loss are ones that everyone can relate to and Picco’s words are the ones you want to say.

4. The Beach is an album everyone should listen to

The Beach is a great album.  Like a well-crafted collection of short stories with universal themes and great writing, it is an album to be savoured and shared.  It is something different and holds something for everyone.

Listen to the single “In Your Light”

Track Listing
1. Rodeo Girl
2. Let’s Talk About Love
3. The Good Within
4. Real Estate Man
5. You’re So Real
6. Worth Believing
7. The Beach
8. Spaghetti Ride
9. Johnny Came Home
10. In Your Light

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