When local music fans think of Chris Holt, the first thing likely to come to mind is his skill on the guitar. If I had to choose one individual as the best guitar player in Dallas, it would have to be Mr. Holt. Through past bands of his like Olospo and The Slack, the biggest draw with both was the opportunity to watch him play guitar. I've watched him perform, wondering how the man is physically capable of playing so fast and so skillfully.
Because of his reputation as one of the area's finest guitar players, A Cosmic Joke was more than a bit of a risk for Mr. Holt. Gone were the elaborate guitar solos and the riffs that had brought Mr. Holt such attention. Instead, A Cosmic Joke focused much more on simple melodies and storytelling. This was definitely not a safe move on Mr. Holt's part.
It was a move, however, that paid off artistically. A Cosmic Joke stands as Chris Holt's strongest work to date. The album is not as instantly catchy in the same way as his previous works, but rather is a thoughtful CD that grows on you with each listen. Much of the CD leans on the more acoustic side, with tracks like "The Wind Has Left My Sail" and "Medication", the latter being highly reminiscent of Bryter Layter period Nick Drake.
The closest thing to a "rock" song on the album is "Aim High". At first listen, the groove of the melody is what will suck you in. It's the lyrics, however, that make the song a compelling, if somewhat uncomfortable, listen. This song, like many others on the CD, was Mr. Holt's way through music of working through the death of his friend and bandmate, Carter Albrecht. While most of the album is more melancholy, this song is an angry ode to the man who fired the gun shot that ended Mr. Albrecht's life.
Take a listen...