Chris Simmons The Occupant

Chris Simmons’ second single, ‘The Occupant’ is due for release November 26th 2013 distributed through Believe Digital.

The Brighton-based singer/songwriter – whose voice has been compared to Brett Anderson (Suede) –  released his first single ‘You Could Have It All’  last year. He has been working hard compiling his debut album ‘’The Boy Will Learn’’ which is scheduled for release in early 2014 and will include  song(s) co-written with Chris Difford of the ‘’Squeeze’’.

chris simmons shortWe had a listen to his new single ‘The Occupant’ :

When our children were young, we walked hand-in-hand to school passing the front of a decrepit house that hung heavy with monstrous ivy.  Such was the overgrown, leafy onslaught, that the front door could not even be made out –  it was covered with thick green leaves. How could anyone enter or leave the house?  Dirty windows could only be glimpsed through the invasive thicket. And we peeked at these every morning, hoping to catch a glimpse of the remote – and intensely insular – occupant. My kids said it was a “Witch’s house”. Maybe it was. It was definitely the home of an eccentric.

A few years later, my girls left home to attend college. The house was forcibly entered by the authorities. There was no one there. It had taken at least 14 years to discover that the house did not contain any living soul. Where had the occupant gone?  When did she leave?  The disturbing sadness of the “Witch’s house” still haunts me. It gives me a shudder. The place is still there. It’s cleaned up now. And has been empty for years. Waiting for the occupant to return.

This song also shares some ideas about the occupier of our thoughts.  ‘The Occupant’ might be a person – no matter how absent – who we may be keeping alive inside our “Heart [and] head.”  Perhaps it’s a lost loved one.  Or even the participant in some cherished moment – now lost in time.  

With the sullen ochre tint of cello, the pallor of the voice stands out on this song. A falling, twisting guitar accompaniment coils around the melody, like asphyxiating ivy.  The piece starts life like a Bob Dylan style busker – but it soon it spreads its wings to become magnificent.  Chris is able to hold onto a note for just a bit longer than you would expect.  Each delicate note becomes ripe on his lips. He grapples with each word – like a climber who desperately wants to cling on – for ever. 

After a verse or two, the song takes on a new sense of melodramatic grandeur – as if the whole piece had been licked in the face by McCartney.  Lyrically, the piece is disturbing – yet beautiful:  “I am a beggar and thief / A name already carved in stone.” It will leave you with a sense of grief and despair  And even if you don’t really care about ‘The Occupant’  – you can’t help wondering what became of her.

– © Neil_Mach October 2013 –






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