Chris Stamey, “Invisible” from Euphoria (2015): One Track Mind

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There are connections back to their shared history streaming through every quiet moment of Chris Stamey’s new collaboration with Mitch Easter — and even more light.

“Invisible,” an advance song from Chris Stamey’s upcoming Euphoria manages to reanimate everything there was to love about Stamey’s time in the dBs and Easter’s period leading Let’s Active, without sounding derivative. No, it’s simply surrounded by too much wonder and magic for something so retrograde as nostalgia.

The interesting part is that “Invisible” grew out of something painful. But maybe that’s always been what made Chris Stamey’s gleaming pop songs so special, the way that something darker can move beneath their surface. The result is a gripping emotional tension.

Stamey’s friend Faye Hunter, a former member of Let’s Active, died in 2013 — sparking broader thoughts about the age we live in, and a stirring desire to recreate her unique bass style in song as a kind of tribute. “Invisible” does both, recalling the janglepop joys that once enveloped the Winston-Salem era even as it talks frankly about the mysteries that still surround us in this era of one-click knowledge.

Stamey and Easter go back before either Let’s Active or the dBs, all the way to a late-1970s outfit based our of Chapel Hill called the Sneakers. Fast forward to today, and they both are members of the Big Star Third band, as well. That musical closeness plays out in the warmth and collegial bliss surrounding “Invisible.” But, thankfully, there’s still something deeper going on with Chris Stamey.

Euphoria, due June 2, 2015 via Yep Roc, which also features work from Let’s Active drummer Eric Marshall, follows 2013’s terrific Lovesick Blues.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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