Album Review: Chris Isaak - "First Comes The Night"

Album Review: Chris Isaak -

By Andrew Lee

I just realized it has been thirty years since Chris Isaak released his first studio album, Silvertone. Reagan was president, Springsteen was riding high on Born In The USA, and Miami Vice was the hottest new show on television. How is it that a man who is this damn handsome, who sings this beautifully, and who exudes such effortless cool hasn’t become more of a household name at some point over all these years?

First Comes The Night is yet another reliable entry in the Chris Isaak catalog and the familiar ingredients are all present. The Elvis meets Orbison golden vocals, the songs of heartache and breakup, the buckets of reverb, the shots of slide and Spanish guitar - and through it all that feeling that each song seems made for night driving, the beach, or the block party.

But there are some less common flavors here too, and they keep Isaak’s music interesting. I don’t know if he has ever started a song with the chorus like he does on “Reverie” - and that chorus repeats and repeats until it wears a groove in your mind. “Baby What You Want Me to Do” keeps building until it’s spinning around the room with mascara running down its cheeks like a bad carnival dream. The rock and roll piano of “Running Down the Road” is a welcome breath of fresh air from the typical guitar dominance, and it makes a brief return a few tracks later during “Keep Hanging On." “Every Night I Miss You More” is a straight up old school country song with a huge helping of twang, immediately followed by “The Girl That Broke My Heart” which sounds like something John might have sung on an early Beatles record. This is all just really good stuff.

Chris Isaak’s last release was a critically acclaimed double covers album of Sun Studio classics and Sun Studio/Sun Records founder Sam Phillips was oft-quoted around the release as having said;

“I have always listened to Chris Isaak. He’s very talented and his music is so damn honest. It’s incredible.”

I agree. I’ve felt the same way ever since hearing “Wicked Game” in seventh grade. I’m an adult now. And after hearing First Comes The Night it feels good to know there are still some musical artists I can count on.