Southern California singer-songwriter Conner Cherland dramatically expands his sound and vision on his new EP Call Waiting.
Available now on Santa Barbara Records, Call Waiting is a brief, six-song effort that puts Cherland’s mastery of classic indie rock sounds on full display. John Bottrell (Christina Perri, Keith Cullen) produced the sessions and clearly bonded deeply with Cherland and his emotive, confessional songwriting style. It’s a full-band record that finds Conner taking on lead vocals, guitar, accordion, synthesizer, and backing vocal tasks. He’s backed in the studio by an outstanding group of musicians that includes Andrew Leigh (electric guitar), John Bottrell (bass, synthesizer), Sam Marsey (backing vocals), Quentin Purviance (drums, toy piano, percussion), Ben Higginbotham (keyboard), and Joe Sadler and Gregory Ullery (synthesizer).
Catch the official video for ‘Call Waiting’ by Conner Cherland
Cherland’s opening song “Call Waiting” is the kind of ultra-yearning pop/rock cut that is always part of a young heart’s soundtrack. Conner delivers his emotionally devastating lyrics in a deadpan manner that increases their significance. His words convey an intense vulnerability that anyone who has ever been honest with themselves has felt. The band puts down an upbeat but melancholy groove that tips its hat to The Cure and vintage U2 and upports Cherland’s vibe perfectly.
The electric piano ballad “Good For Something” is a delicate monologue from someone who has embraced life’s roller coaster and their own flaws and become ok with it all. His almost-whispered vocals make the song feel like he’s talking to himself under his breath, reminding himself that he still has value. Sometimes, the quietest parts of a record shine the brightest. This song is one of those times.
The mid-tempo rocker “Heavy” is a major highlight of this short-but-mighty release. Other tall moments include “I Don’t Need CA” and “You Are What You Take In.” Conner Cherland has developed into a top-level songwriter who can express himself in ways most artists never find. You just get the feeling after listening to Call Waiting that his time to blow up is now. Spin it to hear a star on the rise.
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