The Czars – “Best Of” – Across The Ocean

The Czars – “Best Of”

Calling it a day back in 2004, The Czars left us with a legacy of five studio albums, the final one being the aptly titled Goodbye.


Now, a decade down the track the morose folksters from Denver have delivered a career spanning sixteen track highlights package.

Beautifully gloomy throughout, this best of collection is an accurate representation of the the band’s haunting and honest reflections. Seconds after Chris Pearson’s solemn bass intro on ‘Val‘, frontman John Grant is mournfully singing about emptiness, thereby setting the tone for a pensive and poignant journey of predominantly piano driven lament.

Three brooding guitar notes is all that is required to capture our attention on ‘Concentrate‘ an exemplary dsiplay of the band’s effective grasp of minimalism. ‘Get Used To It‘ (“if this is what you want then get used to being alone”) signifies a shift into more jangling acoustic pop without straying away from the established sombre mood.

Two of the record’s standout moments appear back to back in ‘Drug‘ (“I’m not equipped to play this game”) and the Floydish ‘Side Effects‘ coming at the listener like a solid one-two punch. The latter features a rarely applied dose of distorted electric guitar and emerges as The Czars‘ heaviest track.

Deeper into the album there are a couple of diversions from the parade of sadness. Ironically ‘Killjoy‘ is a neat slice of chipper acoustic pop, likewise the inspiring ‘Paint The Moon‘ with it’s sparse brushes and simplistic chords.

The Czars Best Of is a record which shows off both some brilliant songwriting and appropriately subtle musicianship. It is a moving gathering of folk songs and an ideal companion for the depths of winter.

Gavin Stocker

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Outside of Across The Ocean Gavin Stocker writes, records and performs music under the moniker of P Truck.

He can also be found clinging to his youth on a skateboard or wandering aimlessly through the bush.
Gavin Stocker