As the frontman for the Boston pop group the Push Stars, Chris Trapper displayed his talent for making radio-friendly music that treads the line between Top 40 rock and grassroots folk. But beneath the sunny melodic surface, there has always been a darker side to his songwriting. And on his first solo effort, Songs from the Drive-In, he indulges that side. The result is a much more personal-sounding collection of songs — a throwback to his days as a lone folkie on the Boston scene.
Trapper spins small-town tales of death, joy, and remembrance in stripped-down, mostly acoustic arrangements that put the focus on his formidable storytelling talents. As in true folk music, the charm is in the details. Lovers draw "fingerpaint hearts" on their car windows at the drive-in; the sound of a neighborhood kid struggling to play his clarinet drifts out into the street; a young would-be hero dies in a car race over a $20 bet. By the time Songs from the Drive-In is over, Trapper’s imagination has spawned a whole town full of people living, breathing, and dying.