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Things Come Apart

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Album Review

On the one hand a shoegazing album par excellence, at least in its embrace of stun guitar shadings and effects pedals leading the way, Things is as much a straightforward indie-pop release, with hooks and a sweetly-voiced lead singer. Liner notes being what they are, though, her name isn't immediately apparent, but whoever she is, her vocals, sometimes clearly audible and sometimes lost in the mix, always have a slight edge to them, just enough. Comparison points would be to bands like Bleach or the Popguns, falling somewhere in between those two extremes. "See Me Feel" tips strongly to the latter side, but with an extra aggression that is great to behold -the guitarist pulls off some amazing work that combines sprightly rush with white noise attack. Drummer Simon Scott is the other person to single out for attention; he joined Slowdive shortly after this album's release, upon the Charlottes' collapse. The surprisingly muscular drumming he brought to that band, both live and in studio (though often subtly shaded in the latter arena) is apparent here as well. His strong punch on "Prayer Song" is one high point to single out, matching the strong guitar flow, especially half way through the song, while similar pyrotechnics unfold on "Beautify." Lead track and lead single "Liar" sums up the basic appeal of the band, with both a catchy verse and nicely aggressive guitar on the breaks, especially towards the end. Other strong numbers include "Love in the Emptiness," the extremely My Bloody Valentine-style queasy guitar of "We're Going Wrong," and the concluding version of "Venus," as originally done by Shocking Blue and remade by Bananarama. It's done as a chunky, blissout rave-up, a fun and unexpected conclusion to this entertaining album.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s

From Cambridgeshire, England, the Charlottes were one of the first shoegaze bands -- beaten to the punch only by My Bloody Valentine and quite possibly Lush -- that released a single (Are You Happy Now?) and an EP (Lovehappy) before the dawn of the style's golden years of 1990 and 1991. The Charlottes were actually shoegaze of the harder-driving variety, closer to the more aggressive side of Lush and Bleach than early Slowdive's billowy textures. After a pair of singles released...
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Things Come Apart, The Charlottes
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