Chris Thompson – Toys & Dishes


Review by Brian McGowan

Cherry Red Records

Release Date: 17 March 2014

For rock fans, Thompson needs no introduction. The thinking behind the unusual album title becomes clear on the opening track, ‘Million Dollar Wonder Hit’. A neat lyric compares the glamour of life as a million selling songwriter (no doubt a reference to ‘You’re The Voice’) to the mundanity of life as a husband and father. It’s philosophical rather than polemical, and sets the scene. Thompson is telling us that he lives the life that we live, that he is a down to earth artist – a man in the street minstrel, carrying all the cares and worries (and hang-ups) of the ordinary man. Sentiments reflected in his songs:

The serious, sit-up-and-take-notice tracks begin with instrumental ‘Dark Side Interlude’. It’s a short, beautifully measured piece for piano and guitar, with an ominous undertone. It will remind you of Pete Lesperance’s atmospheric axework on Mood Swings. It’s also a magnificently apposite intro to the full vocal track, ‘Dark Side’, probably the album‘s standout cut. That said, the raw bass groove and simple, Stooges like kick of ‘Hey You‘ and the movingly honest expression of a father’s love for his daughter on ‘Dream Away Little Girl’ place these 2 tracks pretty damn close to the album’s numero uno position.

Elsewhere, the album is filled with passionate, articulate rock, with Thompson’s achingly eloquent vocals spinning each lyric into a story worth hearing. Occasionally, the melodies lapse into mediocrity, a weakness that undermines the album’s momentum. It causes a bit of damage, but it’s not a fatal flaw as ‘Talk To Me’ and ‘We Run’, exceptional songs both, provide a belated burst of adrenalin, lifting the album as it heads toward the finishing line.

Toys & Dishes is not perfect, but it has a steely core and a beguiling charm. A winning combination.

Chris Thompson – Toys & Dishes7 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Million $ Wonder Hit
  2. Millie Christine
  3. Eddie Wants To Rock
  4. Dark Side Interlude
  5. Dark Side
  6. Hey You
  7. Dream Away Little Girl
  8. You’re The One I Love
  9. Sad Song Wishes
  10. Talk To Me
  11. We Run
  12. Woe Is Me