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Music Review: Chris Isaak consistent, too casual on ‘Night’

November 12, 2015

Chris Isaak, “First Comes the Night” (Vanguard)

Chris Isaak’s latest album, “First Comes the Night,” delivers a full flight of songs directly in his Roy Orbison-esque wheelhouse, featuring Isaak’s smooth voice, twangy guitar work and surf-rock-tinged melancholy.

And you’ve heard all this before because it’s all that Isaak ever does.

That’s not to say this is necessarily a bad thing, and the singer is probably the coolest cat in the last 20 years to explore his gosh-darn broken heart. But “First Comes the Night” is like most of Isaak’s previous work, and he doesn’t appear comfortable singing about anything else.

The title track is about his broken heart. The next track, “Please Don’t Call,” with its steady backbeat and lonesome guitar, is about his broken heart. And on “Perfect Lover,” he gently sings: “I stand alone again/ I’ve lost my perfect lover.”

But Isaak sounds as good as ever, and for his dedicated fan base, this release will hit the mark just fine. Moreover, Isaak’s air-tight backing band Silvertone helps salvage a few tracks, like the morbid “Down in Flames,” in which Isaak wryly explores the deaths of the rich and famous.

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