Chris Culgin It's Only Time

Chris Culgin It's Only Time
Peterborough, ON-based country singer/songwriter Chris Culgin's sophomore release, the 12-track It's Only Time, is the standard embodiment of Canadian comfort music, and contains all the necessary essentials to be considered certifiably Canuck. Unfortunately, the record accomplishes the average and fails to extend itself beyond the confines of selective listening. Those outside of the intended audience will find this album difficult to digest.

Culgin can be applauded for the honesty this album possesses; he writes about what he knows and there is no denying his proximity to his subject matter. The fault lies in the habit of centering songs on disinteresting hooks. The lyrics tend to provide inconsequential exposition for forgettable choruses that seem increasingly similar from song to song. Culgin's band works overtime to create ostensibly rural soundscapes (with little lyrical relief) and their contributions are credible on all tracks, especially (and obviously) on the instrumental "Cowgirl Song."

Yet despite occasionally disjointed rhyme schemes, It's Only Time has its moments of clarity. "Ex," a song about small-town love triangles, portrays the confusion when lovers turn to friends and acquaintances. With a topic as incendiary as redneck love affairs, it's a credit to Culgin's delicate touch that he's able to characterize the situation in such light-hearted fashion.

With an upcoming Canadian Tour, Culgin will discover which of his songs work best for the crowd. From there, Culgin will be better equipped to construct the content for his third release. (Independent)