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Once part of the 90’s wave of great power pop artists, Chris Von Sneidern had virtually vanished by the beginning of the new century. His first three LPs are power-pop classics, but Chris changed musical direction with The Sportsman in 1999, and he’s self-released in small spurts since then. A cult favorite, he’s been the subject of a documentary and endless speculation. But that exile is coming to an end.
Emerge is very much a therapeutic type of album. The gentle “Madrigal” is an acapella prayer, which leads to the title track. Chris explains where he’s been, “Imagine feeling drowned/oppressed, confused, and bound” with some beautiful piano and horn flourishes. “Fight” is a brutal depiction of childhood, sounding like a Mark Knopfler narrative. Chris still has melodic gifts and “Tree Fort” is a great example with its layered chorus and marching rhythm. The big highlight “Hey Ron” is pure power pop; catchy and infectious – it’s what fans have been waiting for. While he doesn’t stay in that lane, Chris does have some really great soaring AOR songs like “Leaving Here” and “It’s Gonna Be Alright.” The dramatic requiem ballad “It’s Time To Go” and the acoustic folk “Why Didn’t You Save Me?” are also highlights. Not so immediate, it is one that needs to grow on you. I’m just glad he’s back, and you should check it out.