Chris Connelly – Eulogy to Christa: A Tribute to the Music & Mystique of Nico

Pic Shayna_Connelly

Having been intrigued and keen occupied by its lead singles, it is fair to say that the new solo album from CHRIS CONNELLY was keenly welcomed by attention here and indeed across the music world. Now having lived with the 24-track opus of exploration for the past couple of weeks since its release, it was soon apparent that those songs only hinted at the rich fascination, artistry and passion lying within its walls.

Eulogy to Christa: A Tribute to the Music & Mystique of Nico is an album which Chicago-based Scottish music icon Connelly, formerly of Edinburgh legends FINI TRIBE, originally intended as an album of 10 NICO covers. The uniqueness of her life and that of her music as well as the darker moments often accompanying both and ultimately her tragic death obviously inspired greater involvement of his imagination, as too he says, the book You Are Beautiful and You Are Alone by Jennifer Otter Bickerdicke, it all leading Connelly to writing additional compositions which in theme span her life from her first single, across The Velvet Underground years and her solo recordings until her untimely death.

What has emerged is a release taking us through the world and life of one of music’s most influential yet misunderstood artists, an album described as “a labour of love, empathy, sadness, acting and channelling, rooted in Chris’s adoration of the dark corner of rock inhabited by the Velvets and their peers.” Throughout the release Connelly purposefully adopts the personas of Nico, Lou Reed, John Cale and Andy Warhol to add greater insight and suggestion to a unique period, talent and personality with the record proving just as striking in its own presence and character.

Produced by Chris Bruce (Meshell Ndegeocello, Seal, Aaron Neville, Bob Dylan, The Waterboys, Sheryl Crow), Eulogy to Christa: A Tribute to the Music & Mystique of Nico is one of those encounters which certainly drew potent attention straightaway but with closer and increased exploration revealed the true depth and strength of its creativity and emotive intensity, captivation matching their pull and persistent escalation. Indeed, from the moment Ripcord, Ripcord opens up the record with its raw and involving body of sound and contemplation of Nico’s rape by a military officer as a teenager to the last breath of closing track Hanging Gardens of Semiramis, an atmospheric lament of compelling drama and invasive darkness, the album simply reeled in ears and imagination.

For the whole of its almost fifty minute proposal barely a second passed without the record sparking our fascinations but of course certain moments especially ignited personal appetite, tracks which we will highlight while leaving the rest for your exploration. It is an album though which will offer different moments of the strongest temptation for different ears and thoughts, in fact with every listen our own fluctuated and evolved in their quantity. The acoustically strung cover of The Last Mile, the B-side of Nico’s first single co-written by Jimmy Page and Andrew Loog Oldham is one that particularly drew us in with its slim but haunting presence, an aspect embraced by the Connolly composed Union Square West. Covering the time teenager Nico spent with her mother in Berlin, the song has a Bowie/dark wave instinct within a post punk nagging, the song one of many moments of often understated but inescapable virulence.

The distinctiveness of Connolly’s voice is matched by that of his songwriting but equally his take on those Nico songs is as uniquely fertile; the Lou Reed written Femme Fatale and Tim Hardin penned Eulogy to Lenny Bruce providing swift evidence with their individual and engrossing personas. Similarly, the exceptional Frozen Warnings finds Connolly weaving deeper ethereal layers to the chilled beauty and hauntings of the original, aligning uniqueness with classic familiarity while Valley of the Kings draws out an otherworldly and captivatingly crepuscular majesty from the medieval intimacy of the Nico written track.

A run of consecutive tracks sprung our favourite album moments, Sixty Forty with its evocative breath and emotive sentiment leading the way. It is a song with an inherent pop catchiness which soon swung with the passions before Vegas took ears on a darkly lit eighties seeded electro pop saunter. Both songs gripped body and imagination, as too Draw From It (Like a Vampire) courtesy of its tenebrific atmosphere and shadow courting stroll.  

Equally, the pair of Saeta and the outstanding Tananore through their respective empyrean and Neofolk seeded persuasions easily spellbound attention, both offering suggestively imposing intimations to mesmeric breaths casting compelling drama and enterprise.

 As we said though, every second of Eulogy to Christa: A Tribute to the Music & Mystique of Nico proved a magnet for ears and an invitation for the imagination and thoughts to delve deeper into not only the release but the world of Nico herself, an exploration we recommend with the strongest breath.

Eulogy to Christa: A Tribute to the Music & Mystique of Nico is out now via Shipwrecked Industries in the USA and Easy Action in the UK; available digitally and on double CD @

Pete RingMaster 27/01/2023

Copyright RingMaster Review

Categories: Album, Music

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