There’s a subterranean moroseness inbuing American expat Robert Chaney‘s debut album, Cracked Picture Frames. From the finger-picked domestic horror of opener “Black Eyed Susan” to the electric blues of “Patch It Up”, Chaney trucks in repentance and contrition.
Like the “actors on a different kind of stage” who occupy the album’s lone true love song, “The Simplest Words,” Cracked Picture Frames proves Chaney to be an old soul living in modern times. Weaving in current vernacular on “Does Your Love Pay Out in Full?” Chaney sings, “I don’t hate the player, I don’t even hate the game.” Stepping back in history, Chaney updates the murder ballad tradition with the gothic “The Cyclist,” “Corazones Amarillos” and closer “The Ballad of Edward and Lisa.”
I do believe to own your heart
Is something just like trying to own the seasons
With “some words to say,” Chaney packs simple folk structures with dense tales of romantic strife, futility and death. Anything but joyous, there are untold treasures to discover listening to Chaney’s songs. Released in February, Cracked Picture Frames is an apotheosis of a debut, one worthy of your time.
Watch the video for “Patch it Up” and stream/purchase Cracked Picture Frames below.