"Chancellorpink''s sound is outsider rock informed by new wave and Bowie-style pop weirdness. Between the deep, rich vocals and somewhat unconventional orchestration (fuzzed-out guitar is often accompanied by vibraphone), Chancellorpink often recalls the Magnetic Fields. And at his weird, catchy best, McLaughlin approaches Stephin Merritt proportions in his songwriting: "Red Wedding Dress," for example, is a one-man chamber-pop piece with irresistible depth...The pop-music landscape would be a lot less exciting if there weren''t Chancellorpinks on the outskirts, doing just this sort of thing."
~Andy Mulkerin, Pittsburgh City Paper (1/31/08)
"Valentine Parade is like a love letter you have kept tucked away in your closet or an old chest all these years. It is pure pent up feelings pushed out through a straw or small aperture. Perhaps the pinnacle of McLaughlin''s career rolled into a neat plastic package. West of weird is Ray''s sense of heart and mystery of true life tragedies. He has a magic for changing the mood with the chimes of his voice and heart strings. An educated purchase of fine musicianship is the Valentine Parade."
~Chris Knowles, U.C.I.S. (1/31/08)
Chancellorpink – A True Broken-Hearted Balladeer
In 2006, full-time attorney Ray McLaughlin began redefining his musical career, emerging from the shadows as the broken-hearted balladeer Chancellorpink, with a new determination to do things his own way. No longer content with only writing all his own material, Ray decided to also engineer, produce and play every note of it.
And so in May 2006, he released his eponymous solo debut and vowed to "record an album a year until I die or become boring." "Chancellorpink" contains 12 literate, indie pop/rock songs, drawing comparisons to old Bowie, a funky Elvis Costello or Crowded House on a vodka bender, with Ray''s rich and often plaintive vocals leading the way to favorable reviews and regular Internet radio airplay for songs "Chancellor Pink", "AnnaJo" and "Disgusting". "Chancellorpink" also picked up a cultish, underground following for its deceptively-titled, acoustic love ballad "Cunt".
April 2007 brought about the release of the 19-track "Darkrazor", which Ray describes as "a haunted house with 19 rooms; my Beatles’ white album, only it’s black." Songs "Lock Me Up", "Paul''s Song", "Everybody Needs A Family" and "A Case Of Noir" garnered frequent spins on international and local college and public radio airwaves, as more people began catching on to Chancellorpink''s unique blend of poetry, pop and pathos.
His 2008 release, "Valentine Parade", is now set to be released on, of course, February 14. Lovers of great music, rejoice. It''s a perfect suite of songs for the broken-hearted and a nice antidote for anyone who wants to avoid loved-up couples on Valentine’s Day.
Inspired by that which he says inspires all great writers – “alcohol and broken hearts” – Chancellorpink has crafted a record full of rich vocal harmonies, filtered, staccato guitar lines, and altogether beautiful tunes. Envisaged as “a heart-shaped candy box of 11 sing-along Hallmarks designed to keep you company when your phone doesn’t ring on Valentine’s Day,” this is far from your average greetings card company’s take on the love song.
“Each song is about love, in one form or another,” says Ray. “Each song is a ''Valentine'', written from a different perspective, a different voice.” Chancellorpink’s own voice could also be described as ‘different’, but only in the best possible meaning of the word. It is, by turns, haunting and beautiful, pained and warm. But it''s always backed by some fine production and an unusually good ear for a melody.
Chancellorpink describes making music and poetry as something that is “in the blood”. Having been involved in several successful bands in and around Pittsburgh since an early age, Ray has always been fully immersed in music and songwriting.
However, after writing over 1000 songs, he finds the dynamics of being part of a band too limiting. “I make songs rather than have a ‘sound’,” he says. “I change the instrumentation from song to song, and I change my vocal stylings depending on the overall sound I am going for on a given song.” It is this variety, above all, which makes "Valentine Parade" stand apart from most pop records you’ll hear.
And what drives this poet-songwriter to keep making music? “I just want to be heard by more people, anywhere,” he says. “My hope is that people relate to my music, share it, and it spreads.” Time and records like "Valentine Parade" are sure to turn Ray''s hope into reality.
Though sometimes a bit of a recluse, Chancellorpink continues to play out sporadically, acoustically and often unannounced in support of his music. MySpace friends are familiar with his continuing blogs and bulletins of poetry and opinion. And for the extra curious, there is also "100 Things About The Chancellor" to consult, found on the Chancellorpink website.
With Chancellorpink, however, the real story’s in the songs.
Some Additional Chancellorpink Press:
"This is chunky power pop of the highest order. Elastic bass lines, incendiary guitars and killer tunes. Think of a funky Elvis Costello or Crowded House on a vodka bender. Literate, clever and passionate, the songs have staying power."
~ Tony Heywood, The Epoch Times
"Darkrazor (is)...diverse, exhilarating, and, at times, intense...McLaughlin offers up musical morsels to suit most everyone''s taste, especially those with a longing for substantive and emotion-stirring lyrics...(his) vocals are at times haunting, with songs describing the dark beauty of the soul and the lonely places it inhabits."
~ Maree Gallagher, The Monthly Post
"McLaughlin''s rich and often plaintive vocals evoke Scott Weiland or old Bowie. He definitely has a story to tell and knows how to do it with original style. Chancellorpink had me hooked from the first eponymously named track."
~ Shelley, https://www.tradebit.com
"An entrancing 12-track indie-pop record with the shades of early, arty Bowie."
~ Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"McLaughlin''s strength on this CD is his sonic imagination, deploying a lush range of keyboard textures and spacey effects...On ''AnnaJo'' he veers into a raunchy, distorted groove reminiscent of Mellow Gold-era Beck."
~ Aaron Jentzen, Pittsburgh City Paper
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