‘The Chorus Man’ is ‘enigmatic, downbeat’ match of indie rock and blues
Reviewed by Alison Murphy
Yves Villeneuve/The Chorus Man
From the brief Jim Morrison-ish spoken-word intro to The Chorus Man, you can anticipate a more downbeat record, which is exactly what singer/songwriter Yves Villeneuve delivers here. With a husky, enigmatic voice recalling Michael Stipe of R.E.M.’s early days, Villeneuve prepares us for a snowy winter with a selection of moody, sometimes bitter tunes. The brooding psychedelia of “See River Flow (North)” reverberates with the ominous melodrama of Thin White Rope. “You treat me like dog dirt,” Villeneuve spits on “Down On Two Knees” as ragged riffs scrape the walls.
Sonically Villeneuve takes a mostly minimalist approach as his guitars and vocals push the songs forward; there’s plenty of repetition in the lyrics and notes as well. But the hooks do stick even though the venom and sense of despair might be overwhelming to some. This is not happy, pretty-boy stuff; Villeneuve walks on the same bleak corners as the Doors once did, tying together a bracing match of blues and indie rock.