Praise and Press:
"this Is the" deserves a place among your Elliot Smith, Badly Drawn Boy, John Lennon, and -- yes, even your Guns 'N Roses albums.
"this is the" is what John Lennon would be doing today if he wasn't killed a quarter century ago.
-music liberation project
Making creative use of colors from Beatles pop to emo rock to lo-fi indie ache, "This Is The" is definitely unusually abundant in imagination and vision.
Understated but assured pop abounds on this singer-songwriter's first solo album. High praise in my book but fully warranted. He shows no lack of ambition in his arrangements. Full but never fussy, tasty but biting, familiar but fresh. Ace all around.
The album could have ended up being mere studio trickery, but Robley's songs are so strong he could deliver them given just an unamplified acoustic guitar. Robley's singing, at his most urgent, recalls Lennon's desperate-yet-melodic rasp, but it's evident he's not posturing to achieve the sound, just slipping comfortably into it like a pair of vintage Beatle boots that happen to perfectly fit his feet.
-Willamette Week (jeff rosenberg)
"this is the" is impressive, proving that Robley has found his voice, working in the great dissonant pop tradition discovered and delivered by the likes of John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen and Elliott Smith. Live, with his orchestra, though, Robley's songs bloom.
-Willamette Week (Mark Baumgarten)
Chris Robley is a unique musical talent. Hell, I'll say it: He's a genius. True to form, his set last night was full of lush instrumentation, beautiful arrangements, and simply the best pop hooks. Check out Chris next time he plays or go out and buy "This is the..." You can thank me later. --Casey at X58Radio.com
"Had my musical brains blown out by Chris Robley. His music is manic and titanic. Don't miss his next singer-songwriter show. Because when the revolution finally comes and he's swept to power, you don't want to end up blindfolded smoking your last cigarette."-Justin Carroll(singer/songwriter)
"Haunting-gorgeous-bloody-thrilling-fucking-great-music. An intensely engaging performer who holds back nothing. Just plain thrilling to listen to. A future legend, just on his way up.- Rachel Taylor Brown (Portland's Maven of Sardonic Wit)
Tall Tales of a Short Man:
Things you don't discuss at the dinner table seem to be the stuff of chris robley's songs: Insurgency, prostitution, substance abuse, misogyny, mortality. He grinds taboo topics and questionable characters into palatable indie-pop, combining memorable melodies and lush, lilting arrangements into a sound boiling with danger below the surface. The immediacy of Chris' performances comes from a place where confident artistry meets anxious desperation, where beauty meets dissonance, where raw, heartfelt honesty is expressed through the quirky voice of his characters.
As a multi-instrumentalist(guitar/piano/bass/accordion/harmonica/drumsequencing/ad nauseum), chris brings an eclecticism to his craft bordering on the schizophrenic without compromising the focus and integrity of his songwriting. In addition to performing as a solo singer/songwriter and with his electronic performance-art ensemble, The Fear of Heights, chris robley fronts the agitprop prog-punk band "the sort of's..." He is also the keyboardist/noise guitarist for The Imprints, a Portland-based rock band led by ex-Baseboard Heaters singer, Rob Stroup.
In 2005, chris officially released his first solo album on Cutthroat Pop Records, "this is the," produced by Adam Selzer (Norfolk and Western) @ The Type Foundry Wearhouse studios in Portland and recorded to 1 inch analog. He tracked and mixed it quickly in four days (playing all the instruments) to generate and preserve the frenetic excitement of these poetic story-songs. It's a beautiful, rough-around-the-edges collection of ambient folk with a sheen of electronic noises buried beneath. "this is the" is a record that unfolds further with every listen like a flower bending towards the memory of the sun.