Chris Cohen - Overgrown Path
That crucial first minute of an album is often the most pivotal moment. Its duration could either see you ripping out your headphones in disgust or turning up the volume with a huge grin on your face. Or, sometimes, that minute doesn't do much at all. There's nothing wrong with the sound, it just doesn't catch your attention. Perhaps it gains a shrug and a nod of approval, but nothing else.
This is the case with 'Monad', the opening track on Chris Cohen's debut solo release Overgrown Path. There's nothing loud about the bluesy opening, just a quiet kind of confidence lurking in the polished sound. The focus of the song drifts towards a slow and steady drumbeat and Chris Cohen's slow, sad vocals, accompanied by an unpleasant prediction that the album isn't going to stray from the languid and understated path that it is strolling along any time soon.
There are moments where excitement and variation shines through which are not drowned out by the haze of plodding drums and slow guitar melodies. 'Solitude' stops just short of being both futuristic and cinematic, whilst the swinging, cheerful pop sound of 'Rollercoaster Rider' might just coax out a dance. 'Heart Beat' is a darker moment on the album, with the focus on drumming making everything feel more dramatic whilst the guitar is what soft rock bands in the 70s would have sounded like if they were more heartbroken. 'Inside A Seashell' is full of indulgent instrumental stretches that are completely relaxing. One of the definite highlights of this album, though, is Chris Cohen's lyrics. Right from the opening track, mentions of "blackest ocean pools" and "a prism pulling colours out of sunlight" lead the way for songs full of surreal and whimsical poetry about nature and gravity which paint vivid landscapes in the listener's head.
As a whole, the imagery and sound that the record emanates isn't unappealing. The psychedelic, shimmering sound and blissful pace is enjoyable but only when listened to in a certain mood or in smaller quantities. In the case of Overgrown Path there can definitely be too much of a good thing.