Merry punk prankster Chris Farren makes pop-inflected tunes that won’t die on you | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Merry punk prankster Chris Farren makes pop-inflected tunes that won’t die on you 

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click to enlarge Chris Farren

Chris Farren

Erica Lauren

Chris Farren is the best kind of punk prankster; he pokes fun at himself as much as anything else, but is also full of earnestness. Although the 31-year-old is a punk-scene veteran, he’s still relatively green to recording and performing as a solo artist—the result of a circuitous path. Farren’s previous band Fake Problems went on hiatus roughly five years ago, and in 2014 he teamed up with contemporary underground punk hero Jeff Rosenstock to form Antarctigo. In a 2016 Clrvynt interview, he said that partnership gave him the confidence to pursue making music on his own. His full-length debut, 2014’s Like a Gift From God or Whatever, was inauspicious; an irreverent collection of original Christmas songs that was surprisingly good considering his initial goal was simply to see if he could actually make any solo recordings worth releasing. Fortunately the album benefited from Farren’s sharp songwriting sensibilities, his keen self-awareness, and what I’ve read as a certain amount of joy from toying with conventions of holiday and scene genres (“Emo Revival Christmas 2014” is so on the nose in the best way possible). Farren’s proper solo full-length debut, Can’t Die (SideOneDummy), is similarly clever, but more personal. He sings about depression, aging, and heartache while rolling out clean, pop-leaning punk ditties. The post-Graceland bop of “Still Beating” shows he’s using his powers to achieve everything a musician could aim for: songs that appeal to the heart, head, and any part of the body that likes to dance.   v


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