Previously only available in his native Canada, Earning Keep displays another side to Christopher Smith’s song-writing ability – gone are the luscious synths and Jah Wobble-style bass lines; in are CS’s stark, stunning voice backed by low slung and loose swing drums, piano and bass.
Recorded in Vancouver's legendary Mushroom Studios by the late Todd Simko, with the help of long term collaborators Shaunn Watt and Will Kendrick, with Will continuing his role into Dralms.
Songs on Earning Keep were written years before its recording, as well as closer to. Musically the songs were hashed out live and in rehearsals over a three to four year period before finding their place in Earning Keep. Even then some of the songs evolved and found their way in to Dralms’ record Shook (2015). Utilizing the studio’s beautiful live room and reverb chambers, Earning Keep darkly shimmers and glistens.
Earning Keep’s resonance lies in its ability to combine the physical essence of the phrase with the many human parallels that run throughout it.
It is a work of contrast and ubiquity, where roles subvert, and the structure of class and ones pursuit of love and identity there-in fold each other. It is a means to an end, as the work defines the finished product; they are one in the same, the process honouring the outcome, the journey longing for destination.
Reference points for this collection of songs would be Angelo Badalamenti’s “Fire Walk With Me” score, Mark Hollis’ solo album, through to the layered guitar pieces of Rhys Chatham (“New West").