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Chris Bathgate: A Cork Tale Wake

B-

Chris Bathgate

Album: A Cork Tale Wake
Label: Quite Scientific

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In the saturated parade of indie singer-songwriters, Michigan native Chris Bathgate carries enough bleak, brooding identity to gain attention beyond the Sufjan Stevens crowd. His fourth album, A Cork Tale Wake, proves that he can write a tune, which immediately separates him from many contemporaries. His voice sounds nothing like Nick Cave's, but the lyrics of A Cork Tale Wake's rural emotional holocaust are certainly beholden to the master of modern Gothic songwriting. Put in frat-boy terms, this is depressing shit, though Bathgate starts with a curveball and adheres to the always-smart first-song-best-song rule with the more upbeat cello pop of "Serpentine."