Album Review

Chris Robley Gets Real with the The Great Make Believer

Chris Robley - The Great Make Believer

Chris Robley is an unpretentious and unassuming kind of songwriter, the kind that puts the music first and lets the sentiment flow from there. That accounts for the unembellished, stripped down sound he realizes on The Great Make Believer, his fifth album overall and first in five years. Still, there is also an emotional cause as to why it’s so uncluttered. Borne from heartbreak -- his father’s diagnosis of cancer, a move from the house he owned with his ex-wife -- it finds him getting back to basics as way of dealing with those uncertain circumstances. Regardless, on record at least, Robley displays complete confidence, even in these unfiltered environs. The easy lope of “1973” manages to sound more spunky than funky while the dreamy, slightly Beatlesque designs of “Mission Bells” is suitably gentle and assured. “Lonely People,” despite its mournful handle, becomes a perfect musical mash-up, beginning with its gospel-like call and response motif and progressing through it clip-clop rockabilly rhythms. Robley eventually settles in and reflects, with the double pacing of “Veterans Day and “Stained Glass Windows” offer a hint of hushed repose and an opportunity for circumspect. Given its spiralling emotions, The Great Make Believer makes for an enticing listen, and, its title disclaimer aside, suggests that Robley is indeed the very real deal.