Written and Performed by Chris Kiehne
Produced by Chris Kiehne
We’ve all been treated to the Zombie-Apocalypse visions of so many movies. And, as with every movie, the end of the world relies heavily on the soundtrack to make its point and get the feeling across. Because of that, we’ve heard soundtracks that range from orchestral to screaming metal. But think for a moment: What would the real soundtrack to the real Z-Day sound like? If the images we’ve seen and the books we’ve read are to be believed, the breakdown of society won’t afford too much in the way of electricity, so the crunchy pounding beats we’re used to aren’t too realistic. Which leaves Chris Kiehne’s vision as believable, and on a strange level, hauntingly beautiful and apropriate: Folk music.
Pray for Daylight is a quirky album that tells the story of the doom of humanity from the point of view of the survivors. And it does it with the use of interesting, strange and haunting lyrics and music that charms you into a false sense of security with its beauty. In ten tracks, the album tells a story of survival and loss and, eventually, acceptance.
From the first track, “Sister Black Maria,” we get what appears to be a happy tune, laced with lyrics such as “…I still remember the night I found your beautiful grave.” And it goes from there, with songs such as “Diomedea” discussing the rivers of blood that now cover the streets in their home town, “Rachael Lied” in which a baby is born with burnt eyes and a razorblade cut for a smile, and “The Wind Through Your Wounds” in which the wind plays in bullet holes to give away survivors’ positions. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t laugh out loud when I heard “A Special Providence”, where Kiehne beautifully sings about “your desperate caterwauling screams.” And all of this set to music sounds more hopeful than ominous.
Kiehne surrounded himself (well, there’s really only three other people on this album, so I don’t think “surrounded” is the right word…) with talented musicians to help fill out his musical vision. With Sonya Cotton’s harmonies, Derek Piech’s bass, and Jeff Alford’s piano, the music takes on a quality of more than just mere folk music. It becomes a complete, well-rounded performance. Of course, Kiehne takes on the lion’s share of musical duties, playing not only the guitar, but also the banjo, baritone ukulele, and mandolin. His vocals are also soft, beguiling as one would expect to hear in a lullaby. However, this is one demented lullaby.
To pick out “best tracks” from this album is to pick a single chapter from a book. All the tracks fit together as one cohesive storyline. However, “Diomedea” and “Rachael Lied” are quite haunting, and tend to stick with the listener. The final track, “A Basket of Bone,” is a beautiful song about love and death…and un-death.
For those looking for something different to go with the Zombie Apocalypse, Pray for Daylight is your album. The talent involved in making this album is phenomenal, and the songs are catchy. And while many may balk at actually *gasp* paying a measly five bucks for an album by someone you may not have (but should have) heard of, Kiehne is offering the album for free download off of his bandcamp site, which means you’ve got no excuse. All he asks is that those who download it share it. Try it out. It’s free, it’s good, and it’s different.
- Track Listing
- Sister Black Maria
- The Walking Dead
- Rachel Lied
- Pray for Daylight
- The Wind Through Your Wounds
- A Special Providence
- Sister Black Maria, Part II
- A Basket of Bone
5 out of 5
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