★★★ - "With a clear concept of what makes his gimmickless songs most effective, McFarland wears his heart on his sleeve, but doesn't let it bleed on the carpet"
The Austin Chronicle
This Is Books Music
"One can imagine McFarland being this generations Bruce Springsteen if he wanted to go down that route"
"What’s perhaps most striking in the playing of Beauty and Undertow is McFarland’s melancholy, poignant vocals that complete his trademark sound. With songs of ambition, newfound clarity and the seeking of a faith-filled concept, McFarland genuinely delivers during much of the record, complete with soaring moments that make one’s hairs stand on end."
The Entertainment Bank
"McFarland's style of music is a mixture of folk, rock, pop, and alternative, but he touts it as "angry folk," which is soft at times and hard at others. It seems, however, that he has quelled some of the anger, and is a bit more mellow, while still providing all the evidence you need that he's a singer/songwriter extraordinaire. The band backing him up is very talented, and together, they're dynamic and fans are in for a treat."
"McFarland has held up a steadfast commitment to musical storytelling, deploying his lyric honesty and arresting voice to illuminate and engage emotions that are at once intimately specific and helplessly universal"
"He reminds me a bit of this years model Elvis Costello... Worth a listen...Stand out track is "Simple Selfish Plan" ..."
My Old Kentucky Blog
"The sounds on Beauty and Undertow are in their own world, one full of passion, melody"
"Chris McFarland unites a raspy vocal style typically associated with heavier styles of music and juxtaposes it with a lighter acoustic folk sound, creating an interesting style dubbed “angry folk”."
DOA: For the Love of Music
"The new EP is McFarland at his best, pouring out his frustration and anger on one song and waxing poetic on the next. It’s an urgent set of tunes that haunt, haunt, haunt – intense and out on the edge."
Bring Me Up
"Whether solo, or with backing musicians, the stories in chris mcfarland’s songs possess an intimate quality that has earned him a place on stages with neko case, bright eyes, Granddaddy, Rainer Maria, Britt Daniel of spoon and the dirty three just to name a few."
"“Beauty and Undertow” is the realization of a long-held dream of McFarland’s to reunite the members of groundbreaking emo group Rainer Maria for the first time since that band’s break up in late 2006."
"Chris McFarland‘s “Simple Selfish Plan” is an airy, pulsing track with disruptive guitar strums and retrospective self-loathing lyricism."
Delusions of Adequacy
"his songs are emotionally powerful. Often bare and stripped down, he can pour out his frustration and anger on one song and wax more poetic on the next. On The Unraveling, he shows that his songwriting prowess continues to grow."
"there's enough integrity to make you sit, listen, and reflect on what you've done in your life so far, where it's going, etc. and that's pretty cool."
"Singer/songwriter Chris McFarland takes Buffalo Tom's Bill Janovitz's raspy growl and carries it with perfection"
Delusions of Adequacy
"he proves with each release to be one of the most talented singer/songwriters deserving of recognition."
"Austin, Texas-based Chris McFarland is a perfect example of the new wave of singer/songwriters that have risen like phoenixes from the ashes of the alternative rock"revolution."
"McFarland refers to his music as 'angry folk', which is a completely adequate description. He is a welcome addition to the singer/songwriter camp."
"While his songs lack the exquisite hooks of more pop acts, theres enough charm to his acoustic guitar and the lightweight accompanying band that backs him up. Similarly, McFarland didnt just read his diary into the mic' when he recorded this record: Theres a balanced mix of pop-style flows with honest-to-goodness emotive songwriting."
"McFarland's particular talent is to access his anger as a means to exorcise his anger, a process that puts the proverbial silver lining into some of the storm clouds of sound he cranks out."
"Simple acoustic and gritty guitar work tremble under the scratchy been-there voice of this songwriter. This disc is full of feeling and is nothing short of powerful in its vigor and wholesomeness."
"McFarland’s edgy, indie folk sound provides the right balance of hot and spicy and cool and savory."
Blog Rocking Beat
"The veteran musician is regularly criss-crossing the country supporting his unique brand of visceral folk music, which includes his latest EP, Beauty and Undertow. We were fortunate enough to grab a few minutes of his time and it turned into one of the more eclectic Five Albums interviews we’ve done yet."
Featured on Fearless Radio, February 2013