Chris Farren is one of those names that is always on the tip of your tongue. Though he’s played in popular bands Fake Problems and Antarctigo Vespucci — and he’s become well-known for his inventive merch, including his take on the classic The Smiths shirt — Farren is still working on breaking out in the large world of singer-songwriters. After experimenting and honing his solo work on a few memorable EPs and a Christmas album called Like A Gift From God or Whatever, Farren is ready to release his debut full-length Can’t Die. And with it, he’s poised to become known on his own terms for his own unique sound.
The result is a clever blend of pop and gloom, the sort of record that will keep you dancing even when the lyrics cut deep. Farren, who cited Coconut Records, Belle & Sebastian, and Magnetic Fields as his influences while recording Can’t Die, has crafted a record that has a true indie-pop sensibility and remains musically upbeat throughout.
Yet there is an undeniable sadness to certain tracks as well as a heavy focus on death and mortality, like on “Until I Can See The Light,” which was partly inspired by the death of Parks and Recreation writer Harris Wittels. It’s about “how weird it is that they’re gone. You don’t get to talk to them anymore.”
At the end of the day, however, Can’t Die is a record that is wholly reflective of Chris Farren’s sound. It’s not Fake Problems or Antarctigo Vespucci but instead it’s entirely Farren’s: resonating indie-pop that captures all of the weird little anxieties of being in your twenties and realizing that you can’t control everything around you.