The debut full-length from Charlie & The Evil Mothers just hit the Internet the other day and I excitedly dove in. “Strings” has been in regular rotation for the last six months and my assumption was that a larger collection of songs would surely only add to that enjoyment. I am happy to report, I wasn’t wrong.
Unfortunately, my love of the album is hard to articulate. At the core of it, these are pop songs with catchy hooks but there is a subtle dark vibe bubbling underneath many of the tracks. “Baby Black and White” quietly descends into a fading organ and ominous field recording, “I Don’t Feel Eeinmore” fits right in on a Halloween soundtrack complete with a haunting whistle and “I Never R(Eli)zed” is just straight up creepy from start to finish. Despite those examples, there’s also moments of unbridled feel good vibes (“Klondike Bar”) and sweet sweet melancholy (“Happy is the Working Man’s Sin”). The production, the nasal vocal style and somewhat obtuse lyrics also contribute to the difficulty in pinpointing exactly what makes this work but, whatever those specific ingredients are, they work.
A debut record is often the culmination of an entire life’s experiences up to that point. It’s the foreboding reason for the sophomore slump but also the keystone to an expression of diverse emotions spanning a gamut of trials and tribulations. Charlie & The Evil Mothers manage to capture that diversity extremely well and I look forward to putting this one directly into the heavy rotation pile.