Chris Orrick – Portraits


Chris Orrick - Portraits (LP)

Chris Orrick releases his new album he calls ‘Portraits’.

No one confronts the abyss better than Chris Orrick. The Michigan ex-factory worker formerly known as Red Pill has spent the last half-decade documenting industrial decay, familial pain, and struggles with addiction better than almost anyone inhabiting this poisoned soil. It’s somewhere between Charles Bukowski and Michael Moore, or maybe Atmosphere if he couldn’t ignore the arsenic in the air.

From the corroded arteries of the blue-collar heartland, Orrick emerges as one of the most incisive and savage critics of Trump’s America. If the American dream is dead, he unflinchingly lays the blame on avaricious corporations, crude demagogues, and structural racism. There’s nothing polemical about it: just warm-hearted, sad-eyed, gin-flooded depictions of a life where there are few right answers but a litany of wrong ones.

It’s obvious how loudly the music speaks to Orrick, who is rarely short of opinions or serrated observation. The somber piano-based melancholy and rugged drums of “Portraits” thump via a gifted arsenal of producers including Nolan the Ninja, L’Orange, Exile, Apollo Brown, and Onra. Only two guest rappers appear, Fashawn and Orrick’s partner in Ugly Heroes, Verbal Kent. Orrick carries the rest of the weight and you sense the Atlas burden he shoulders.

But for the all the poignant complaints, there’s a soulful profundity at the core of the album. It goes further than stress over bills, nicotine and liquor compulsions, and a search for deeper revelation. For a little while, we understand the raw f&cked up complexity of what it means to be a human being in a lunatic world. The portrait is personal, but it’s all of us too.

Listen to ‘Portraits‘ below.

Related: Chris Orrick – Jealous of The Sun (prod. by Onra)

Yoel Molina Law

Leave a Comment