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The words are wonderful-clever, poignant, offhandedly funny. The music…has as much complexity and colour as the lyrics themselves-spare, like the Modern Lovers, but beautiful and coherent.  The perfect musical backdrop for Warren's skewed, outlandishly well-written tales of boy-girl things 'n stuff.  An absolutely original songwriter.  -Exclaim! Magazine
The Varsity (University of Toronto), Feb. 2005
Warren's material brings the best of Neil Young's acoustic work to mind, but does so with a varied approach that manages to maintain interest for the duration of the entire album. Intelligent lyrics, at times extracted right from the landscape of Toronto, add colour, such as on "Hole on Bloor Street" … The use of horns adds diversity to Warren's catchy, melodic sound, and his solid vocals are complemented by female back-ups that add either a dark or cheerful vibe depending on the mood of the song. Beautiful Ruins is generally gentle and strummy (see the title track), though a nice kick of electric guitars finally erupts on "Outside Time" just when you need it. Highly recommended to anyone looking for music that is relaxing, thoughtful, and passionately performed. -Adam McAuley

UmbrellaMusic.com, Jan. 2004
Soft, iridescent folk-pop from one of Toronto's most conspicuously clever lyricists. Beautiful Ruins these are not-there is a polished grace to many of these tracks. Largely acoustic, and coloured by Warren's sometimes fragile, sometimes nasal, always comforting voice, the best of the songs betray a litany of uber-cool influences which any fan of art-folk should enjoy sussing out. If you are taken by this record, it may not be the music alone that carries you away. Warren's lucid, engaging writing is stronger here than ever. And it manages to accomplish that rare feat: it reads even as well as it sings.
-Stuart Henderson

eye Music Critics Poll, 27/01/05
Howard Druckman:

1.    Ron Sexsmith Retriever
2.    K-os Joyful Rebellion
3.    Reid Jamieson The Unavoidable Truth
4.    Jeremy Fisher Let it Shine
5.    Kate & Anna McGarrigle La Vache Qui Pleure
6.    Kyp Harness The Miracle Business
7.    Lori Cullen Uneven Hill
8.    V/A Country Got Soul, Vol. 2
9.    Chris Warren Beautiful Ruins
10.   Greg Hobbs Threats & Promises

Exclaim! March 11, 2004

Really there is nothing with more beauty than a ruin-it preserves the memory of its venerable past and offers a new transformation as an ever-changing nature-worn art installation. Chris Warren understands this and, on his sophomore record, examines the beautiful ruins, and the ruined beauty, surrounding his own life... But don't go thinking this is a grave affair. Warren's story-telling agility and experimental ear keep things light and exciting. His voice, a sort of older and higher pitched Kyp Harness (indeed, some may call it a beautiful ruin), is matched by a worldwide array of instrumentation, sometimes reminiscent of Bruce Cockburn's Breakfast in New Orleans era. Let's hope Chris goes on to ruin more songs.
-Brent Hagerman



Ear Candy (December 2004)
Chris Warren is hard to fully describe. He sometimes sounds like Paul Simon and sometimes sounds like the jazz/rock fusion of Edie Brickell. But what sets Chris Warren apart from others who attempt this style is that he has brilliant lyrics, which he seems to effortlessly and perfectly fuse with sometimes intricate and sometimes simple melodies (the song "Yaffa" is simply beautiful). There are so many artists that have only one or the other: great lyrics or memorable melodies - Chris has both! … My favorite song on the CD is the catchy, "Outside Time", which has "hit" written all over it! It also has the brilliant lyrics, "I used to be the kind of man that would laugh at a man like me." It's good to see that great lyrics can still be written. **** -Scott H. Platt

Howard Druckman, UmbrellaMusic.com April 2004
Chris Warren has the soul of a poet (maybe Leonard Cohen's) and the eclectic tastes of an adventurer (maybe Sir Edmund Hillary's). He does it all, and does it deep, digging great songs from the mineshaft of eternal truth. When he goes for a pretty, jangly-guitar-and-trumpet, pure-pop song like "Hole on Bloor Street," the hooks stay in your head for days. "Dubious Elegy," for a troubled, near-pathetic rock 'n' roll junkie ghost, is a slow, droning, stutter-beat tune with a sing-song melody that also rattled around in my brain-pan for days on end. The drop-dead punch of "Beautiful Ruins" bears a sparse, spooky witness to war, specifically, in the Middle East: It's timeless, haunted, and riding on some of the fastest, cleanest string-plucking I've heard in years. Really, there's nothing in the ruins that's not worth examining. Go buy it.
Crosses the boundaries of pop, world beat, and contemporary composition. Warren filters broad topics through an intensely personal lens, and focuses them directly into his music. -McGill Daily
American Songwriter Magazine, Feb./March 2005
This album is one of those fortuitous discoveries that fills you with utter pride, followed by a sudden urgency in which you can't let one more second pass without telling someone about your latest and greatest find. Beautiful Ruins, the second album from Toronto's Chris Warren, is a magnum opus from start to finish. The poignancy of his lyrics, the style and softness of his voice, the delicate finger-picking of his guitar, all recall a young Paul Simon-and the eclectic amalgamation of sound is an echo of The Beatles' Revolver or Magical Mystery Tour. Just listen as the trumpet comes in on "Hole on Bloor St." and tell me it's not like hearing "Penny Lane" again for the first time. Every song is so wonderfully crafted it really disheartens me to have to pick songs, so I'll stop. -Evan James

NOW Magazine, Feb. 2004
The second full-length release by local musician-cum-poet Chris Warren is far headier fare than your average singer/songwriter disc. Drawing on themes ranging from evolution and extinction to regret and mortality, Warren aligns the microcosmic and macrocosmic with deft arcs of mystical lyrics… He frames his words with sophisticated, layered arrangements-hints of beat poetry, chamber and klezmer accents mesh with mature pop songwriting.  Beautiful Ruins is a solid effort. (NNN) -Sarah Liss

Penguin Eggs, Spring 2004
The best adjective to describe Toronto singer/songwriter Chris Warren might just be "idiosyncratic".  He has an original and oft off-beat worldview and sound, and that makes Beautiful Ruins a refreshing listen. … Warren has played his share of local folk clubs, but the musical and lyrical sophistication on display here can't be easily contained within the folk label.  Instruments as varied as accordion, bassoon and flugelhorn are used to add subtle colourings on the songs. … Beautiful Ruins is one strong piece of work. -Kerry Doole

The Toronto Star, Feb. 2004
Toronto songwriter Warren's eccentric and arresting pop-folk opus is…a fine expression of an independent musical spirit and a poet's heart. Quirky, meandering melodies, a slightly distanced, effects-treated voice, improbable and dissonant instrumental intrusions and off-kilter harmonies occasionally detract from an immediate appreciation of Warren's wonderful lyrics, keen observations of the minutiae of urban living, of friendship, love and isolation. Beautiful Ruins is fascinating, avant-garde world music with retro-pop inflections and a serious literary intent. -Greg Quill

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