THE PAPER GRENADE
Self released ★★★★★
Wow. This guy really does have something.
I don’t mean he needs to see a doctor either. He’s got just the right medicine on this rainy, miserable and cold November day; his gorgeous debut album, THE PAPER GRENADE.
Awe-inspiring vocals, a voice not too far away from Chris Martin, but with a much sweeter tone, a gentler delivery and perhaps even better songs! What a songwriter this guy is.
Ten originals by Chris and the opener Heart To The Ground, a co-write with co-producer Michael Clarke. I really liked Michael’s work with fellow Birmingham-based singer-songwriter Dan Whitehouse and Ron Sexsmith, and he’s done a sterling job with this record.
THE PAPER GRENADE is unusual in that it is a completely fulfilled record for a debut, sounding more like his tenth than his first. It’s a big sound. A polished, but unharmed from too much production, sound. The voice is sensational and would stop traffic; mumsand dads on the school run, pulling over to writedown who this istograbthat album on their return to the house or office.
Commercial but mega credible. Full of songs that are truthful and sad, romantic and bruised, and shot through with the confidence of a songwriter and musician who has worked out how to make a studio sing in harmony with his vision. With the right radio pluggeron board, there are a handful of songs here ripe for BBC Radio 2 mainstream play-listing.
At the centre of all these songs, Chris’s voice compels the listener with its beauty and range. He sings of love and betrayal, dreams and fears, full of desire to communicate, to ‘sing something that means a little’.
Recorded over a period of three years, mixing bare acoustic guitar and vocal tracks with more ambitious string-filled arrangements. A lot of the time when he plays live, it’s pared down, just Chris and a guitar. But he also plays with guitar and percussion and harmonies, right up to a full band. So he wanted The Paper Grenade to capture all that range.
LINE, was released in 20067, followed by an EP, Matchbox Stand, in 2011. Performing what he describes as “urban folk music”, Chris cites Paul Simon, Grizzly Bear, The Beatles, Nick Drake and John Martyn as significant influences, and has previously supported such acts as Ben Howard, Teddy Thompson, Fionn Regan, Sharon Van Etten, Rae Morris and Amy Winehouse.
In the same vein as the likesof Paolo Nutini, David Gray and James Morrison, Chris Tye is a modern day singer songwriter with nods to the past, a beautiful soulfulness at his core; talents and abilities which soar him way, way above 99% of his fellow undiscovered troubadours.
This guy deserves to be heard far and wide. Here is a major label talent waiting to be signed. A future arena act waiting in the wings. My singer-songwriter album of the year. Simon Redley