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CHRIS VON SNEIDERN (Buy CDs by this artist)
Big White Lies (Heyday) 1993
Sight & Sound (Heyday) 1993
Go! (Heyday) 1994
Wood and Wire (Mod Lang) 1996
London Payne (Searching the Muse: Memoirs Across America) (Mastromonia) 1998
2-cute-2-be-4-gotten (Mastromonia) 2000
Live Start Lifting (Mastromonia) 2000
The Knight of Lines and Proses (Sp. Criminal) 2000
Round Trip (Map of Wyoming) 1998 (Innerstate) 1999
Trouble Is (Innerstate) 2000
Transit Survey (self-released) 2001
Spirited (Japan. Lazy Cat) 1999

After serving (unrecorded) stints with such Bay Area pop stalwarts as Flying Color and the Sneetches, Syracuse, New York native Chris Von Sneidern unleashed Sight & Sound, the first of his remarkably beautiful pop masterpieces, in 1993. Using his guitar and pen to fashion pretty, Badfinger-esque songs — the desperate "Bad Black Lonesome," the Merseybeat homage "Annalisa," the moving, lilting "Life Start Living" and the frightening, Big Star 3rd-like "Never Again, My Love" to name just a few — Von Sneidern imbues the album with unparalleled pop vision and sheer melodic genius. A near-perfect beginning.

Big White Lies is every bit as strong as the debut; the dozen songs include a well-placed cover of Bread's "Everything I Own" alongside such lovely originals as the summery "Roll On," the dreamy (natch) "Dream Away" and the slightly more forceful "Hard Again." Von Sneidern has a definite gift for both songwriting and arranging; unobtrusive little touches include the exotic percussion on the catchy title track and Bryan Higgins' sweet french horn flourishes (à la the Beatles' "For No One") on "Here I Go." The whole package (purportedly the first to contain interactive CD-ROM liner notes) is an essential pop treasure from one of the most talented auteurs to come along in ages.

[John M. Borack]