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Album Review

Coming a full five years after his last solo album, 1999's Moe Tucker-produced The Lives of Charles Douglas, Statecraft is a much more polished and self-assured affair. "Polished" might not be the precise word, since the album was produced by lower Manhattan's master of guitar skronk Wharton Tiers and features the Pixies' Joey Santiago as lead guitarist, and between them, the two add a few layers of grit and spiky textures to Douglas' basically sunny indie pop. The results sound rather like a cross between Jonathan Richman's wide-eyed faux-naif persona (Douglas has a well-documented history of mental instability, but his lyrics are much closer to Richman's mixture of ingenuous simplicity and wry humor than the more disturbingly unhinged likes of Daniel Johnston or Wesley Willis) and the post-punk clatter of prime early-to-mid-'80s Fall, when Mark E. Smith's disjointed hectoring was held in check by Brix Smith and/or Marc Riley's pop smarts. Highlights include "Chan," a giddy, tongue-in-cheek love song to the lady better known as Cat Power, the quirky "Splitting the Atom" (an exercise in neo-post-punk dance rock along the lines of Franz Ferdinand), and the punky, Pixies-ish opener, "Free at Last." Statecraft is Douglas' best album yet, a tremendous step forward from his more tentative and uneven early releases.


Born: 1976 in Dayton, OH

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Indie rocker Charles Douglas was born in Dayton, OH in 1976, first emerging as one half of the duo Vegetarian Meat. A nervous breakdown confined him to a hospital bed for the better part of 1996 and 1997, and upon his release he dissolved Vegetarian Meat, took a job at Burger King and began forging a solo...
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Statecraft, Charles Douglas
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