Chris Ho - City Of Dust
Chris Ho is an artist proficient in two distinct classes. Like a college student who painstakingly trudges through a double-major program, so does Ho in his musical ability. The joining factor of his duality is his relative genre-ambiguity. At its core, his music is best described as poetry set to acoustic rock. You get the impression that he could very well be a 21st century Paul Simon crossed with John Lennon.
His guitar expresses an array of emotions and paints the settings for his tales of love and loves lost. And throughout the album, various accoutrements (like violin on "Where it Ended", the lone trumpet on the title track, and the besprinkling of poignant synth effects) add color and depth to his songwriting, adding brightness to bleak lyrics and density to fervent emotional outcry.
Ho's two minds emerge through the stylistic traits he chooses to focus on as the skeletal structure to his work. On one side, he is the hopeless romantic balladeer, making the listener swoon along with his melancholic tempo and gently rambling voice.
And on the other side, he is a bit of a pop-hipster, constructing [manufacturing?] radio-friendly, ear-wormy upbeat ditties that ring of Maroon 5 by way of Blue October - fun-living and loving tunes with funky swagger. It is as though these tracks are the ones he is probably using to get his name out there. While dancy and predicable, it is probably wise that he does this on the front end of his career, so he can get a foot in the door and do whatever he wants later in the game.
However, because there is a distinct line between his two selves, the somber songs project more honestly, earnestly and impassioned than his pop-friendly material. But the entire album has a great, edgy live-recording quality to it, as though he is performing specifically for you. And regardless of which mode you prefer, both faces of Chris Ho will surely mesmerize some part of your mind!
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