I’ve gotten very used to random packages showing up at my door full of amazing music to listen to but one that stood out for me was the package from Chris Mardini. Not only did it have his new self-titled CD in the package but it also had a mask and a very cool holographic card thing that has been hanging on my wall ever since I got it. What I’m trying to say is that his package stood out to me and I’ve been anxious to check out the album but it just hadn’t spoken to me until now so let’s dig into this eight-song album, shall we?
The album starts off with “I’ll Try”. As the song kicked in, I was taken over by the sense of beauty and power. The opening of this track instantly pulled me into Chris’ world and it was as if all of the weight of the world lifted as Chris’ voice came in to take this track off. Chris’ vocals are low, very low, but not natural. There’s something so perfect about the tone and the overall range at which Chris keeps his voice during this opening track. Every word has emotion and power behind it which is only emphasized by the anthemic instrumentation behind his voice. The movement in this track is staggering and you can literally feel and hear Chris move through different emotions while never letting the power falter. Although this is only the first of eight tracks on the album, I think it’s safe it say I am completely and hopelessly addicted to Chris Mardini.
“Skin Tight” continues to showcase Chris’ amazing voice while bringing a more commercial almost electro-based beat to the mix. Even with the addition of this more aggressive beat and instrumentation, the emotion in Chris’ voice continues to reign supreme throughout this second track with words that are just as gorgeous as the delivery. I found “Nobody Knows” to be almost entrancing and before I knew it, the album had moved onto “Nobody Knows” which has a more standard indie-rock vibe to it. I loved how, although only three tracks on, I was already given multiple sides of this amazing musician and I think that the side heard in “Nobody Knows” is my favorite yet. There’s something driving and powerful about the beat in this song but something about Chris’ vocals and the vocal styling that keeps the track feeling loose and free. An instant favorite of mine, “Nobody Knows” had me dancing around my house like a fool with a giant smile on my face.
If the fourth track on this album, “Sleepless (Remix)” is truly a remix, I would kill to hear the original. Slow and steady, the feeling of tenderness in this track is nothing short of impressive. It’s a warm and cozy track while continuing with Chris’ signature power and emotion. With credit to Seth Von Paulus, the composition of this track is somehow exciting while the track never seems to reach a sense of chaos or intensity. With build-ups that just seem to fall back down almost as soon as they hit their peak, I loved how this track kept me on my toes and I found the final push to be super satisfying and overly powerful in the best way possible.
“Herd” follows “Sleepless (Remix)” perfectly in a way that only Chris Mardini could do. The explosion of sound that ends the previous song falls to a low as “Herd” comes in with a sense of darkness that I had not heard on this album yet. A bit smoky and with an almost hip-hop influence at times, this was another side of Chris that I instantly wanted more of. Although the power he has is something that stays constant throughout this album, there’s something about the more aggressive nature of “Herd” that instantly had me caught. Sadly, this track is also the quickest on the album at under three minutes so I feel like as soon as I started to really get into this intriguing side of Chris’ music, it was over.
I thought I had heard everything Chris had done by this point. I mean, we were almost to the end of the album but “Shadows” proved that there are still more sides to this music mastermind. “Shadows” comes with an almost jazz influence alongside some of the hip-hop vibes felt in “Herd”. It was the perfect mix and instantly became another favorite of mine just because of the interesting composition throughout the track and the heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics that come drenched in emotion in a way that only Chris Mardini can do. That slight hip-hop influence continues to come through during “Grin” only this time with an undeniable sense of swagger and almost a little grunge with the guitar tone. Another super anthemic track, although not my favorite on the album, “Grin” is a great example of just how much attitude and talent that Chris Mardini has.
This album closes out with “Lost” and I honestly felt a little lost as it ended and I was left in silence. This final track ends the album on an absolutely gorgeous note. Slower than some of the previous track but just as powerful, I feel like Chris’ vocals, although absolutely standing out in the previous tracks, really hits a new high in this song. Although I was loving the more hip-hop-influenced vibe of the previous couple of tracks, the emotional power of “Lost” hit me right in the gut in the best way possible and left me just in shock as it faded out. I found myself just sitting at my desk trying to gather up the thoughts about the journey that Chris Mardini had just taken me on but, honestly, I just don’t have the words to sum it all up. Powerful, anthemic, emotional, beautiful– this is one of those albums that you just have to hear for yourself and let it take over your body, mind, and soul.
My Favorite Track(s): “Nobody Knows”; “Shadows”
For Fans Of: Power; Beauty; Anthemic Indie Pop Tracks
Mosh-ability: 3 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Autumn crept around my desk yelling at me every so often; Artie laid on the back of the couch
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 8 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 8 out of 10
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