Chris Mills “Heavy Years 2000 - 2010”
“Underrated” is very often an inappropriately used word in reviews. Richard Thompson is not underrated, he’s justly lauded as some kind of musical genius. Chris Mills however, is definitely underrated, for he too is some kind of musical genius, but you’d never know it from the paucity of critical approval, or indeed sales, that comes his way. The proof of said genius lies in the grooves, or whatever CDs have, of this Best Of set.
All but two tracks are taken from his last four studio albums, and they show a mighty range and a fearsome lyrical talent. Every song would be a standout on lesser albums, whether it’s the power pop of “Atom Smashers” (which namedrops everyone from the Statue of Liberty to Emperor Tojo – which he deftly rhymes with Toto), the brass heavy “A Farewell to Arms”, or the epic “Signal/Noise”.
Mills knows his pop, and marries great hooks and tunes to serious and thoughtful lyrics, as on the wonderful late night lament “Diamond” or the jagged and driving “All You Ever Do”. The one ding against this album is that Mills has succumbed to the temptation to put two new songs on it, thus forcing fans to buy twelve they already have for the sake of two they haven’t. That aside, it’s hard to see what could be improved.