Our lives are full of firsts. Our first jobs. Our first apartments. Our first victories and first defeats. Our first loves and…first heartbreaks. Each and every day we’re challenged to take risks and try something new. Graham Wright’s debut album, Shirts vs Skins, is about those challenges. His first full-length collection captures the excitement of the moment when you step out on your own and boldly face the future.
Following 2008’s The Lakes of Alberta EP, Wright experienced a period of intense creativity in the wake of a big breakup. Instead of dwelling on the past, he chose to plow ahead. He wrote over sixty new songs and embarked on a series of recording sessions with the help of Dean Marino and Jay Sadlowski at Toronto’s Chemical Sound Recording Studio.
The resulting album, the first of a planned trilogy, displays all of the skill and trademark charm that Wright brings to his other work: as a host on CBC Radio 3, as a contributor to 2009’s groundbreaking Novels project, and as one of the four great musical minds that make up Tokyo Police Club.
Shirts vs Skins is full of raw emotion, swinging wildly from abject misery to pure joy. Each character has a unique voice. They take on tough subjects but don’t take themselves too seriously. The songs are funny, playful, and nostalgic. They weave through a host of styles to incorporate the best of Wright’s influences but never lean on them. And, perhaps most impressively, they stand up to repeated listening, growing a bit better each time, like a favorite pair of blue jeans.
They’ll make you remember all of your firsts and they’ll leave you wanting more.
Neutral Milk Hotel
The Hold Steady
Townes Van Zandt