chris merola's story is almost a cliché at this stage: indie band gather a cult following through college radio, receive critical acclaim, limited success and then split leaving the lead singer to release an acoustic album. Bob Mould did it after Husker Du, Paul Westerberg did it after the Replacements, both Grant McLennon and Robert Forster did it after the Go-Betweens, and it's not restricted to the me, as Kristin Hersh did it after the Muses and Maria McKee did it after Lone Justice. These albums are usually stripped down, raw quality, soul-searching, slightly depressed affairs, and chris merola's is no different.
chris is the former vocalist of the Rain Deputies and for "Straight Answers…", he's stripped away most of the adornments of a band to leave just his voice and guitar, with the bare minimum of a rhythm section. His voice isn't a million miles away from Dave Pirner's and the raw fold-tinged rock has a lot in common with Soul Asylum. There's not much more to say about this, these albums tend to be the artist's purging period, where they just record what they want without concern for charts or critics. chris merola has a lot of talent, a great voice and this CD displays his skills in an honest uncluttered collection of songs.
by Donnacha DeLong