|Chris Haines - Seven Stars|
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Reviewed by Erin Spruce
This is the second solo album by Haines, now based is Portugal, having once been a member of the Southampton based Mr E. He has written and produced 'Seven Stars' with the help of Neil Cornish and Tom Fisher and between them they deliver a very high standard album. With its positive, uplifting lyrics and simple but pleasing acoustic arrangements (think Bon Iver with a smidgin of Sufjan Stevens) it is easily understood why this album, like its predecessor 'But God', is attracting critical plaudits. Haines showcases amazing vocal harmonies that can be heard best on "Face Of Flames" and "Strangers". These two songs especially compliment the tone and quality of his voice. "More Of You" with its upbeat tempo and easy-to-remember chorus is a great opener while "Agape" is, for me, the standout song due to the lullaby feel it exudes. The music box sounding piano and marching band snare drum (I lie not!) fits perfectly with the simplicity of the lyrics. Haines' decision to put "Seven Stars" at the end was the right choice. The song builds up right until the last line when the music fades out quickly and Haines almost whispers "is his alone". Although it would have been nice to hear one or two songs coming away from the acoustic folk/pop sound, such is the invention shown in the arrangements, the songwriting craft and the warmth and engaging smoothness of Haines' voice, this is an album I would recommend to anyone.
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|Album review by Mark Heath: “In Seven Stars, Chris takes his considerable talent as a singer, songwriter and musician, and treats us to another collection of thoughtful and deep songs, all beautifully arranged... |
The album kicks off with the upbeat yet intimate song of worship More of You, and is followed by Face of Flame which reflects on the theme of the glory of God.
The next track, Nothing can Separate is probably the most up-beat on the album, with a catchy tune rejoicing in the truth of Rom 8:38. It’s followed by gentle, almost lullaby-like prayer of blessing, Watching over You.
Augustine’s Song is lyrically one of the richest songs on the album, drawing from the thought of Augustine, backed by lovely guitar work. Lost and Broken showcases Chris’s talent for layered harmonies, and Agape is a intimate love song.
If I had to pick a favourite from the album, it would probably be one of the final three tracks. No Treasure features more of Chris’ signature use of doubled vocals and layerered harmonies, beginning as a melancholic prayer of surrender, before slowly building into an majestic orchestral climax. Strangers has a simple yet beautiful melody, and like so many others on this album, starts gently before gradually building into a crescendo, before stripping it right back down again.
The final, and title track Seven Stars, draws from the imagery of revelation, and builds a powerful sense of anticipation of Christ’s second coming.
“This is another top album from Chris, with the quality of arrangements particularly impressive. They move effortlessly between waves of peacefulness and intensity, making the listening experience both relaxing and inspiring. Why not treat yourself or a friend to a copy?