Chris Koza has a classic folk music trajectory, but he knows how to bend the rules, too, breaking away from verse-chorus-verse templates and exploring strange tempos and instrumental sideshows.
The Dark, Delirious Morning ripples with swift, bouncy guitar strumming and plunking piano chords. The result is a 1960s Beatles-esque album with a tinge of alt-country spunkiness. It’s often pop-perfect or dark, with Koza bouncing between a warm, sweet tenor and, in songs like “Avalon,” a velvety deep sultriness. Good throughout, the title track manages to outshine the other pieces of the album. It’s the most stripped down, the one with witty lyrics that evoke the best of Bright Eyes and the jangled confidence of a Simon & Garfunkel classic.
Though nothing sours the 12-track effort, the near constant swelling of orchestral strings seems to wash out otherwise crisp songwriting. The exception, however, comes in “Pilot Light,” where the strum of guitar is lightly glazed by backup vocals and piano. Koza initially restrains himself, and it’s only when he reaches the emotional pinnacle, singing, “Go on, stay, fade away!” that the orchestral parts burst forth, seeming like a natural leap rather than interruption. (Erika Fredrickson)
Chris Koza plays the Badlander Friday, April 11, with Good Neighbor Policy, The Awful Truth and Conservative Dad. 9 PM. $5.