(One Little Indian)
Marc Anthony Thompson, the singer-songwriter behind
Chocolate Genius, has released only three albums under that name since 1998.
But each of those albums is a delight, equal parts assured songcraft and deft
wordplay. Swan Songs, his fourth, is
being touted as the final Chocolate Genius installment, and per its title the
record is deeply grounded in loss and letting go. Thompson, always an openly
autobiographical songwriter, makes lush use of the passing of his parents
(particularly on the moving “Sit And Spin”), as well as other sorts of loss – friendship,
home, love-as he charts the fearful territory inside.
These are capital-I issues, but Thompson’s simple and
restrained arrangements, which place his sweet, strong vocals in the forefront,
sound less like an attempt to give answers than to ask big questions in a
clear, solitary voice. By the time the
peaceful closer, “Ready Now,” comes around, Swan
Songs sounds like an earned curtain-closer, though you can’t help hoping
Thompson isn’t finished yet.
“Sit And Spin” ERIC WAGGONER