Sophomore Album Coming from the Stephen King of Indie Pop
This is certainly demonstrated on his sophomore full-length, "The Drunken Dance of Modern Man In Love" (Cutthroat Pop Records), an album chock-full of clever pop, experimental folk, dark rock, and Robley's sympathetic lyrical tales of down trodden, heart-wrenching American life.
Chris Robley & The Fear of Heights is set to release "The Drunken Dance of Modern Man In Love" this fall, and plan to tour extensively in the West and do a national run in support of the album. "My songs are dark, sure," admits Robley, "but I'm still just this well-adjusted, happily married, stable, and gainfully employed 20-something songwriter."
Despite being well adjusted, Robley has had his share of, shall we say, bad luck. Namely, two failed attempts at making a sophomore album, before having it all together with "The Drunken Dance of Modern Man In Love".
After releasing his critically lauded debut full-length, 2005's "This Is The" (CutthroatPop), Robley hit the road with his band, touring and exiting the "Portland bubble", as he calls it, while ferociously writing a batch of new songs. Upon returning, he quickly entered two different studios to begin work on a new album.
One studio, Mike Coykendall's (M. Ward, Richmond Fontaine) Blue Room Studios, a 16-track analog home studio, found Robley disappointed with the songs' performances, feeling they were undercooked and boxed in. While the other studio, Rob Stroup's (who plays in Robley's side project band, The Sort Ofs) 8 Ball Studios, a Pro Tools set-up, left him questioning whether the songs were too polished and precise.
"The schizophrenia of bouncing between two studios, two producers, two opinions, and two completely opposite methods of recording was making m go a bit crazy," recalls Robley. "I lost perspective entirely on those tracks, though I still really believed in the tunes and knew I could make it all come together eventually".
The problem: in the year it took to record these two sets of tunes, Robley had been experimenting with a whole new batch of songs altogether, allowing himself to delve deep into the questionable narrator style, something he had explored in previous efforts, but never followed to its fullest potential. This is the "Raymond Carver meets Randy Newman" songwriting approach that defines "The Drunken Dance of Modern Man In Love".
Without hesitation, Robley put the 8 Ball Studios and Blue Room recordings on the shelf (and hopes to re-visit, finish, and release it sometime in the future), and entered Portland's renowned Type Foundry with Adam Selzer (M. Ward, The Decemberists, Norfolk and Western) at the helm to record what would become "The Drunken Dance of Modern Man In Love".
The result was, an album that came out even better than expected, fueled by the musical interplay of Northwest luminaries such as Adam Selzer (M. Ward, Norfolk and Western), Paul Brainard (Richmond Fontaine, Fernando), John Stewart (The Sort Ofs), Arthur Parker (Trash Can Joe), Benny Morrison (March Fourth Marching Band), Amanda Lawrence (Loch Lomond), Steve Keeley, James Gregg, and Mike Danner.
With a U.S. tour planned for the winter of 2007, and another in 2008, Robley hopes to expand outside the "Portland bubble" and take these dark tales from this well-adjusted songwriter coast to coast.