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The Silver Line

Chris Mills

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Album Review

Chris Mills is a talented singer/songwriter who specializes in heartache with occasional undercurrents of bitterness and self-pity. Unfortunately, he has a tendency to sound somewhat generic, a limitation that is particularly evident on "Sleepwalking," which seems so much like the work of a run-of-the-mill (no pun intended) bar band that it's easy to overlook the less-routine lyrics. On some of the other tracks, David Nagler and Eric Roth contribute tasteful string and horn arrangements that don't necessarily enhance the individual songs; for example, "Don't Be Crushed" loses some of its emotional impact because of the saccharine string accompaniment. Mills has mastered an earnest, melancholy vocal style, but he has a tendency to stick with this approach even when a greater sense of anger or sarcasm would seem better-suited to his own lyrics; he even manages to sing the opening of "Diamond" ("I heard you're a drunk/And you never shut up/The word on the street/Is that your sweet ass/Is totally f*cked") as if he was wistfully describing another rainy day. Nonetheless, the songs themselves are fairly solid and hold up well to repeated listening, even if the performances don't always make the most of their potential.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Americana singer/songwriter Chris Mills was born an Army brat, spending his formative years living in both the U.S. and Germany; as a teen he settled in southern Illinois, where he was exposed to the groundbreaking insurgent country sound of local heroes Uncle Tupelo. While in high school, Mills also fronted a speed metal band, but in the years to follow his music took an increasingly rootsy turn; upon signing to Chicago indie Sugar Free, he issued his...
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The Silver Line, Chris Mills
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