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Album Review

After trawling some heavy depths on Phenobarb Bambalam, Connelly took a generally sassier and, dare it be said, glammier approach on Shipwreck. Not that the more melancholic side of life wasn't addressed, and quite well at that, but most of the songs have a sharp acoustic/electric guitar kick and at once rough and carefully produced feel to them that steers away from both the subdued and sprawling arrangements prevalent on Phenobarb. "What's Left but Solid Gold?" and the brawling "Drench" are two of the particular highlights, fierce and fine. Combined with the ever-reminiscent sense of Bowie's vocal style that Connelly makes his own, it's almost as if Aladdin Sane decided to reappear in the mid-'90s — a connection heightened by Connelly's performance of "The Cracked Actor" during the tour for Shipwreck. Further hints like the very Mike Garson-like piano on the semi-country swing of "Spoonfed Celeste" and the breezy "Anyone's Mistake" crop up, as well. All this said, Connelly's not trying at a complete homage — it's still him and his own particular obsessions, not to mention his often witty lyrical visions of the world. Only guitarist Chris Bruce reappears from the Phenobarb lineup — William Rieflin again contributes drums and keyboards as he did on Whiplash Boychild, while bassist Mark McNulty and guitarist/programmer William Tucker make up the rest of the band. An interesting tribute crops up via the song "The Early Nighters": while homages in 1994 were more often directed toward Kurt Cobain, Connelly instead specifically salutes River Phoenix with his graceful, mysterious words and light arrangement. It's a nice contrast to the deep, dark mood of "Heartburn," while still evincing sincere regret and loss. With strong tracks like the burning rumble of "Swimming" and the elegantly descending title song to fill it out, Shipwreck finds Connelly in firm creative flow.


Born: Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While his contributions to Ministry, the Revolting Cocks, and Pigface have earned him a reputation as a ferocious industrial rocker, singer/songwriter Chris Connelly's solo career has explored softer music that's more in line with Nick Cave, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, and the later work of Scott Walker. Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, Connelly listened to the glam sounds of David Bowie, Roxy Music, and T. Rex up to the point punk exploded on the scene. When he was only 14 he joined Rigor...
Full Bio
Shipwreck, Chris Connelly
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