Breakout: “Liftoff” by Christopher Pellnat

Christopher Pellnat Liftoff

Christopher Pellnat is a singer-songwriter from Hudson, New York. When he’s not working on solo material or collaborating with other musicians, Pellnat plays the electric guitar for The Warp/The Weft, a psychedelic folk-rock band from Poughkeepsie. If that tickles your fancy, then I would recommend checking out their Bandcamp. But for now, the second Breakout post is on Christopher’s recent solo record, the folk-rock and alternative Liftoff. With a music taste consisting of the likes from Rolling Stones and Talking Heads to classic jazz and old country music, his vibrant and varied musical backing has resulted in this fluid, deep, and playful record. It really is a melodic delight for the ears.

“The body’s broken but the spirit’s alive.”

The album’s melodic folk feel shines from Pellnat’s acoustic guitar and dulcimer arrangements. This is especially seen in There’s Gonna Be Some Healing, which dabbles with gentle acoustic arrangements and more rustic (yet still soft) electric guitar riffs. The track’s drum patterns also help to heighten the vibrant imagery evoked by the lyrics. With lyrics like “the body’s broken but the spirit’s alive,” Pellnat explores the unpromising world he’s trapped in, the love that pulls him through, and his artistic drive to explore the beautiful. This helps to make the album so charming and sincere. The search for meaning and connection (in a world that manages to hide a lot of it in chaos and artificiality) is very relatable.

Despite the singer himself calling his voice ‘meh,’ his vocals give the record an extra layer of harmony and honesty. This is especially the case in tracks such as the bouncy You’re so Beautiful Making Your Escape. It shines with its beautiful soundscape and infectiously playful nature. I can’t help but sway to its rhythm!

Christopher Pellnat in 2017
Photo of Christopher Pellnat, taken in 2017.

“But what’s your plan B when the lighting flashes?”

The record also reveals some of the music which inspires the musician. The chorus of Olympus Mons particularly shines with its depth and spirit. Moreover, the moody guitar riffs carry themselves with a timeless swagger. One can hear hints of the Rolling Stones’ more mellow tunes, Bob Dylan and Talking Heads. Hints of Johnny Cash then appear in the swaying Waiting All Night, which would suit very well in a classic prison drama. Same goes for I Saw Everything and its dynamic guitar riffs.

Occasionally, Liftoff also indulges in instrumental experimentation with additions of violin, clarinet, flute, and accordion. The jovial accordion plays beautifully in Dystopia is Over and its calling of hope, which momentarily ends the chaotic world the album strives to escape. The desire for freedom, meaning, and connection continues in the rhythmic Sacred Truths and Lies. Here, true love and beauty are sought after, in all its spells and flaws. With this in mind, the track’s upright bass riffs (played by Pete Toigo) provide the track with a dark and mysterious undercurrent.

Then there’s Do It Again Like You Like It, which has a seductive bossa nova feel. Here the album’s desired connection and sense of meaning is closer than ever: “punching through that ceiling is gonna be the best feeling that you’ll ever find.” Much like the protagonist in the track, Christopher Pellnat is constantly punching through that ceiling to discover the next best thing, and we should really admire him for it.

Check out Christopher Pellnat’s Liftoff now, available to stream on Bandcamp and Spotify.

Click here for the first Breakout post, which looked at Vinyl Floor’s Apogee. 

From Sophia with Love x

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