Chris Olson is solo artist from South East London, who is also the lead singer and songwriter in the band The Codes, from Wiltshire UK. The band’s debut album “Eleven” can be heard on Spotify, as can Chris’ 2009 EP “For Emma”, as well as his singles “White Cloud” and “All The Time (Acoustic)”. Chris Olson’s latest single is “Dirty Summer” which will be a part of his upcoming album project “Building Stampedes”.
The track is described as being about the growing pains we all experience during our teenage years, when we don’t know our bodies or minds, and all of our sense of “self” is determined by external influences.
There’s plenty of good stuff here. This is essentially a blend of singer-songwriter, indie and alternative music for the mature listener; easy to consume, polished enough, but carrying the raw grit characteristics that is so often lacking in these aforementioned genres which have become watered down and saturated. Despite it’s driving beat and jangling guitars, “Dirty Summer” is certainly not your standard sugarcoated radio fare.
Right from the start, there’s no doubting that “Dirty Summer” has good intentions — it’s clever, outspoken, and at times very catchy. Moreover, it registers as a record with real significance because of its visceral lyrical moments. Chris Olson is a perfectly good songwriter, with a keen ear for memorable hooks, insightful lyrics, and satisfying song structure, all of which leave a lasting impression on this record.
There’s real weight behind the song, which also offers an immediate thrill with the banging drums and guitars lines, to lure you in. There’s a charm to Chris Olson bluntness as he spits out the hard-hitting narrative with his booming voice. Though “Dirty Summer” is profound and bombastic in places, it’s still easy enough on the ears.
From the opening bars, you get the impression that Chris Olson is just loving performing this song, and it’s moments like this that really make “Dirty Summer” a delight to listen to. It gives the track authenticity, relatability and a sense of urgency.
There’s also a graininess to the track in almost every way: how its ideas unfold, the hints of emotional grit in Chris’ vocals, the way the music feels like it’s been arranged carefully but almost in a way that allows it to remain free-associative.
There can be no doubt that “Dirty Summer” has scope. It feels like a lived-in document of everything Chris Olson been mulling over regarding our teens, in these years. You can feel how this song came to fruition, the fact that it were improvised and finished in real time, then allowed to breathe and develop before being put into a permanent recorded form. It’s one of those songs that sounds like it could only come from one kind of singer-songwriter in particular.
Chris Olson always had a gift for wringing poignancy from life’s toughest lessons, and he does it perfectly on “Dirty Summer”. Chris has a popular TikTok channel where he promotes his music, covers songs, gives guitar lessons, and reviews music gear. @chrisolsonmusic