Review | Christopher Paul Stelling - False Cities


Don’t sleep on this one folks.

Give a listen to the track above — the lead single from Christopher Paul Stelling’s second album False Cities — and I seriously doubt you’d be ready for sleeping, anyway.

The second album from Brooklyn-based troubadour comes just over a year after his impressive debut Songs of Praise and Scorn. Stelling’s latest effort once again finds the protagonist of his songs dancing the line between intensely determined (see “Brick x Brick”; “Every Last Extremist”) and beautifully reassuring (see “You Can Make It”; “Go Your Way Dear”). At the peak of fierceness, Stelling shows all the exuberance of an innocent man on trial for his life, refusing to admit guilt or defeat. When the track changes, however, that mood can hair-pin into a moment of beauty and confidence without the slightest of hesitation.

Being able to pull off that range of emotion believably, without the listener feeling that it’s part of some sort of elaborate ruse, can be a difficult thing to do. Stelling is able to make that transition fairly seamlessly without losing any credibility.

On top of the performance range, Stelling accentuates his story telling with some awe-inspiring technical proficiency. From simply listening to him play, you’d believe the man has more than two hands. But there are no post-production tricks here, simply practiced skill.

For all the emotion conveyed in this recorded work, it’s still not nearly as engrossing as seeing these songs performed in person. I highly suggest you make an effort to do just that.

Grab the new album now (and stream his debut) over on his Bandcamp page.

Upcoming shows:

  • 06/15/13  – Boston, MA – The Brewery Sessions
  • 07/13/13 – Cincinnati, Oh – Bunbury Music Fest
  • 07/17/13 – Spring Green, WI – Shitty Barn Sessions
  • 07/18/13 – Rochester, MN – Thursdays on First and Third
  • 07/26/13 – Floyd, VA – Floyd Fest
  • 07/27/13 – Floyd, VA – Floyd Fest

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