Christopher Coll isn't a name that you might be familiar with, but you'll have heard or seen his work before. A prolific musician, he has recorded over 30 albums, both solo and with the band Lost in the Fog. He has produced animated videos for a number of musicians as well as illustrating posters for folk duo The Lost Brothers and Phil Taggart's book 'Slacker Guide to the Music Industry'. 'The Black Doorway EP' is the result of his first collaboration with Malojian's Stevie Scullion.
Starting strongly with ‘A Vision’, the song is full of haunting characters and situations, not unlike stepping into an Edgar Allan Poe short story. Coll’s vocal style which appears to be an amalgamation of Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, and Mark Lanegan all rolled into one, adds edge and menace with equal and delicious delight. ‘Into the Ocean’ hints at a remorseful self-questioning of life’s journey and is one of the more intriguing songs on the EP.
Highlighting the need for support and the importance of family that we all need, ‘For Avery’ depicts a parent giving some hard and honest advice to a child in a deeply personal way. Sticking with the family theme, ‘Her & I’ pays tribute to the saving power of a loving relationship.
It’s up to the listener to decide if Coll’s lyrics are autobiographical or fictional, however, given the depth of understanding of the human condition portrayed in his lyrics, there’s a strong chance he’s writing from personal experience.
‘The Black Doorway’ is a layered song that is sheer poetry. Heartrendingly dark, it takes the listener on an uncomfortable journey through a mind of hurt and pain.
The stark production on the EP is very reminiscent of the work that Rick Rubin did with Johnny Cash. Sparse instrumentation allows Coll’s voice to carry the melodies unimpeded and adds further emotional impact to his songs. A compelling release that delights and stimulates the imagination.