Chris Isaak / Self-Titled Can Sound Very Good, Heart Shaped World, Not So Much

More Chris Isaak

This record can have surprisingly good sound.

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Heart Shaped World seen below has never impressed us.

It’s modern and digital sounding. If you like the music, just buy the CD.

  • An incredible sounding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last; the first copy to ever hit the site
  • These sides are KILLER – open and spacious, but with all-important richness, smoothness and Tubey Magic that makes the top quality analog pressing such a special listening experience, and it doesn’t get any better than this record for Chris Isaac
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • “… 11 songs of smoky, wounded romance and dark menace given great all-around performances. Isaak’s gift for capturing a perfect blend of early rock & roll twang and making it sound perfectly of the now is his greatest strength…

This vintage Warner Brothers pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What amazing sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1986
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We Listen For on Chris Isaak

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

You Owe Me Some Kind Of Love
Heart Full Of Soul
Blue Hotel
Lie To Me
Fade Away

Side Two

Wild Love
This Love Will Last
You Took My Heart
Cryin’
Lovers Game
Waiting For The Rain To Fall

AMG  Review

Having established a winning musical combination on Silvertone, Chris Isaak and his band essentially continue it with little variation on his second album, 11 songs of smoky, wounded romance and dark menace given great all-around performances. Isaak’s gift for capturing a perfect blend of early rock & roll twang and making it sound perfectly of the now is his greatest strength, and if later albums showed him finding new ways to twist and develop his approach, the relatively straight-up work here is more than fine.

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