Chris Miller unpacks emotion with vulnerability and redemptive honesty on his latest release, Alcohol and Cigarettes.
To say Chris Miller hasn’t been busy of recent would be a fallacy. Since releasing his debut single Not Crazy, which went on to win the Top Song of 2019 in the Atomic Countdown, the energetic soloist has gone on to support Aussie stars Ruby Fields and The Potbelleez.
In between his frequent Twitch.tv performances, the Albury/Wodonga based singer-songwriter has found the time to reflect and record a deeply personal cut, Alcohol and Cigarettes.
Much like Miller’s sleek debut Not Crazy, Alcohol and Cigarettes doesn’t shy away from addressing sensitive subject matter. This single focuses in on the importance of mateship, with Miller’s lyricism rightfully placed front and centre in the mix. “Inspired by the struggles of friends that were left behind after someone made the unthinkable decision to take their life,” Miller yearns for honest communication and a sharing in pain.
It’s a beautiful and crucial message to publicise during such a tumultuous year, carried through colourful piano and gentle acoustic. The underlying strings also re-emphasise the weight of the message, as Miller asks for conversation instead of silence: “just come on over, and we’ll work it out.”
The 6/8 ballad blossoms into a cathartic listening experience once the rhythm section takes hold and, by the end of the last chorus, you too will be craving a chat with your close mate “over alcohol and cigarettes”. I have to agree with Miller’s imagery here, based on personal experience. Pub chats are seldom beatable.
Miller uses the seismic final chorus to reveal his impressive vocal range, belting notes unreachable for most run-of-the-mill folk acts. This song could have easily settled for sadness, however, Miller’s ability to turn personal hardship into a feeling of redemption and optimism proves that he is a singer-songwriter to keep an eye on.
If you’re craving more some more Chris Miller, have a listen to his debut below:
Up next: Listen: Ruby Fields – Trouble