Chancellorpink is back for a melodramatic round two 


About this time last year, area attorney Ray McLaughlin released a collection of bedroom-pop nuggets as Chancellorpink: all lo-fi home-studio sounds, relying primarily on drum machines, guitars, melodramatic vocals and vaguely disconcerting lyrics. With Darkrazor, Chancellorpink is back at it again, this time released through Illinois micro-indie label Wax Electric Recordings.

This one sounds better, sure, and many of the songs -- like the Tom Waits-y "A Case of Noir" -- are oddly affecting. But with 19 short tracks, there's a lot of crap hiding between more charming moments. For every hilarious romp like "Any Dude's Song," destined for my iTunes, there's a "Ballad of the Fat Old Perv." On the one hand, there's the highly textured, raucous "Cut the Cable on a Deviant Mind," on the other, there's "Paul's Song," which could be a parody of a Smiths song -- or someone singing Smiths karaoke. And I never want to hear "Bottom of My Glass" ever again. Never-ever.

The Chancellorpink oeuvre is so erratic and shape-shifting, it's tempting to offer that old admonishment to "just be yourself." Except that, from reading his Web site and other ephemera, I kind of think McLaughlin is Chancellorpink, emotional obsessiveness and self-indulgence included free of charge. And that's really terrifying ... but also kind of cool.

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