Cherry Red 2014
Celestial bodies sold cheap as pop hook maven look back at his rock roots.
Somewhere in between work with Sia on a contribution to “The Great Gatsby” OST and her solo album, Chris Braide not only submitted songs for Britney Spears and Paloma Faith but also wrote this record. Contrasting Braide’s fairly recent collaboration with fellow Englishman Geoff Downes, Chris’ third, and first since 1998, solo outing is a rock effort. Out on a spaceball – and, in places, glitter ball – ricochet, the artist cuts into the title track with a raw guitar crunch and a life-affirming “All right!” holler to channel his inner Bolan and get away with a sleek disco chorus, albeit the pulsing sheen of “It’s Not Too Late” comes on quite predictable, if still pleasure-cooking.
While “Fascinating” takes the planets idea to an intimate sphere, it’s on such acoustically-tinselled numbers that Braide’s ballad-baking expertise kicks in, yet “This Is For The Girl” gains an orchestral weight on the refrains as does the transparent “Let Me Love You”. The diamonds and stars theme shooting the album through hints at a certain concept, but there’s nothing heavy to burden the listener, save for the barely adorned, bittersweet anguish of “Take What You Can” which unexpectedly spreads out into a prog-rock, organ-oiled mini-epic. “Agent Wilde & The Speedway Dancers” is a real one, though, going through motions to slowly bump and grind without a proper climax. Perhaps, a dozen songs, instead of 11, would have made it a real treat; still, when there’s the whole space put up for sale, complaining about a cosmic dancer’s faux pas would be real cheap.