Chris Cohen's songs initially sound easy.
They're each tiny jewels that unfurl at a leisurely pace, but dig a little deeper and you'll reach a melancholy core. His previous two albums, 2012's 'Overgrown Path', and 2016's 'As If Apart', were built from lush, blurry tracks that embedded themselves in your subconscious, like they'd always been there. 'Chris Cohen', his new solo album on Captured Tracks, was written and recorded in his Lincoln Heights studio and at Tropico Beauties in Glendale, California over the course of the last two years.
Cohen would sing melodies into his phone, fleshing them out on piano, then constructing songs around the melodies, and later, adding lyrics and other instrumentation with the help of Katy Davidson (Dear Nora), Luke Csehak (Happy Jawbone Family Band), Zach Phillips, and saxophonist Kasey Knudsen, among others. It is his most straightforward album yet, but it is also the conclusion of an unofficial cycle that began with 'Overgrown Path'. 'Chris Cohen' is an album about pain and loss but it's also about accepting loss.
Of the song Green Eyes, Cohen says [It's about] the men in my family and how they passed their worldview along to each other from great emotional distances. My father and grandfather were full of secrets and longing, which were communicated through everyday actions like driving a car or cooking a meal. We all wanted closeness, but never found it in each other. This is a statement about a specific song, but it is also a statement about the album as a whole: it's a beautiful sound, but it's also unflinching in its depiction of emotional turmoil.