“Worried Love” the second, very welcome, solo album from Chriss Sutherland of Cerberus Shoal and Fire on Fire has recently arrived in my hands. I should admit straight off that I have a favorite on this album. “What Are We Gonna Do Now” hits me just right. Each time I play the album, I have to hear it 3 or 4 times before I go on. That's pretty tough for the tracks that follow. Also, this compulsion makes it a bit hard on the lead off track as I spend much of the time waiting for it to end and for the next one to begin.
What does “What Are We Going to Do Now” have going for it? Well, from the opening strum and quiet cymbal crash, you can tell how it will lope along. The guitar line digs into you, and the piano wavers a bit like one of those uprights in the corner of the room that still sounds sweet even with a few notes hovering on the verge of in tune. The male/female harmonies meld with the electric organ and guitar. The lyrics hold up, too, but Chriss Sutherland and Colleen Kinsella sound good enough that the first few times through, the specific words don't even sink in. You know what they're saying though.
A couple weeks or months from now, I may have a new favorite. There are other contenders, all of which are as lovingly recorded and well performed as “What Are We Going to Do Now.” The layered acoustic and electric guitar figures on “New Morning Pine St.” and the reappearance of that upright piano in “Without Much Time” certainly show promise for future favorite status.
Lately I've grown used drones in swaths that stretch on for at least half an hour. As such, this feels, unfairly, like a guilty pleasure. There's nothing to feel guilty about here; Sutherland and his cast of supporting musicians have crafted an album of resonant folk, rock, and country. It's definitely an album to live with, one to get to know a bit at a time. 7/10 -- Howard Martin (27 May, 2009)