The simplest definition of invisible is to be unable to be seen, as if to be completely and utterly under the radar, an anomaly to the world that no one sees. A drop in the ocean not even its inhabitants would notice. Chris Bierden is the epitome of invisible, a bassist by day for synth-poppers Polica and the one-man-band dream-pop rider of the storm Invisible Boy by night. Chirs Bierden is as under the radar as invisible could be, and his picturesque yet lost-in-the-background self-titled debut is a stargazing journey through a carefully constructed groove-laden dream-pop coated psychedelic wonderland laced in golden layers of emotion, cracked only by a clean-cut production.
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‘Invisible Boy’ is the result of ten years of daydreaming, an album that trickles from start to finish through tales of love, loss, and loneliness, treading carefully through tightly-knitted musical territory, never straying too far from its dreamy psychedelia for too long, despite pushing its boundaries towards but never close enough to his synth-pop day job.
Imagine a meeting of minds between the musical and vocal aspects of Harry Nilsson circa-1971 and the lyrical play of The Beautiful South and you’ll find yourself floating comfortably between the two listening lovingly to the hauntingly tranquil vocals of Bierden, none more so poignant then on ‘Cadkin’s Song’ where the most simplistic of lyrics lies down lushly amongst a smorgasbord of groove-laced dream-riffs: “Lost out at sea, it was never meant to be. Brother baby, come back home to me. Barely alive, I don’t know how you can survive. Brother baby, come back home to me.”
Chris Bierden, simply put, has carefully crafted a collection of songs so simple yet so extraordinarily wonderful that you could be forgiven for finding it at the top of your album of the year list, an under-the-radar exploration of the darker days of human life in the form of nine little lullabies. However, Bierden’s attention to detail, his desire to paint such a picture of his daydreams has left ‘Invisible Boy’ vulnerable, as if it is a painting unfinished, a space still to be filled. Clocking in at just thirty-three minutes across a collection of nine songs leaves you with a lust for more, and maybe this is where Bierden counteracts the notion of needing more, as you could easily dive back in and discover something you didn’t the first time round, however there are elements that deserve to find themselves at the fore, elements that could’ve been explored in more time.
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One of the elements that registered so exquisitely and enlivening was the underlying use of piano, which toyed teasingly with the clinging riffs that ran through the album almost always. Always there, but never quite at the forefront, and yet if it had been, it would’ve been even more of a work of art then it is, especially in a year like 2016 where instruments like the Piano are being shamefully drowned out.
It may have taken ten years of daydreaming, but ‘Invisible Boy’ is the work of a man wise beyond his years, tapping into a world hidden from modern ears, that even his own lyrics so beautifully admit: “A world that you’ve been looking for is there behind an unlocked door.” If it takes ten more years for ‘Invisible Boy’ to return, then it would be the only wait in the world worth waiting through.