Invisible Boy – Invisible Boy

The reason why Invisible Boy’s self-titled debut is such a breath of fresh air may have to do with Chris Bierden’s breathy vocals. Bierden – who also plays in Poliça as well as other groups – pretty much is Invisible Boy and his first LP is a smash. It’s very refreshing and accessible. The most poignant element of the music is his voice. When I first put the record on, I had my turntable set to 45 rpm…chipmunk city. After slowing it down to 33 rpm I still thought something was wrong. His voice is so high and smooth. The truth is, Chris Bierden’s voice is stellar! So high…in the sky. And in the sky is where most of the songs take place. The artwork is all skies, and songs take the listener to places that involve sunshine, nights, yards, blowing winds, being out to sea, stars and golden mountains. Invisible Boy may actually be a concept album about being outside…if it is, it works.

An established participant in the Minneapolis music scene, Bierden delivers a great set of songs with a band to which he must give a wide berth, as all the parts work out so well. Opener “All the Kids” has one of the few actual guitar solos and has Bierden, who plays many instruments throughout, singing “An empty sky was bending to the dawn/ of tomorrow’s sweetest wish/ and all the kids were fighting/ for a play at lazy days.” “Trespassing” has a great rock riff, with ethereal drumming to compliment the high male vocal and another image: “Oh such a beautiful dream/ oh what a beautiful way to be.”

It’s the same lineup through the whole LP, with members playing “weird and/or atmospheric guitars, warped pianos” and other fluffy sounds. It is reminiscent of Eye to Eye from the early ’80s, only with a man singing. The best song is the last song, “You Could Be Anything at All,” which has a snaky bass line and a solid rock beat over which Bierden lays his signature vocals.

Invisible Boy floats above other contemporary releases and hopefully will find a home in many music collections. Its focus is sharp for such a diffused sound, with no clutter among the many instruments and effects. The label’s press spiel says something about a “child’s relationship to the cosmos.” Normally that would make little sense but Chris Bierden actually conveys such a feeling.

Invisible Boy
Invisible Boy
[Totally Gross National Product]