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Charming


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Alternative rock

Status:

Most recent release, Turn Down the Lights (2006)

See also:

Charming's site

Comparisons:

Lois, early Madder Rose, Frente!

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Cute...There is nothing wrong with being cute! (afries@zip.com.au)

Recommended first album:

Giant is the only one we've heard

Recordings:

  • Giant (1997)
  • Ritual (1995)
  • Champagne and Magazines (2001)
  • Turn Down the Lights (2006)

Giant

Release info:

1997—Tweekitten Records—TK-004

Availability:

Mail order or stores that carry indie recordings around the world, including the U.S.A. and Japan

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Nicole St. Clair Stoops—voice
Ravi Krishnaswami—guitars, vocals, keyboards, violins, handclaps
Chris Garvey—bass, handclaps
David Sherwin—drums, percussion

Produced by:

Harry Evans and Ravi Krishnaswami

Comments:

On my first listen I kept thinking it reminded me of something...something from a few years back...finally it came to me—I was thinking of Madder Rose, from the time of their first and second albums, in their more mellow moods. After I played Giant a few times that comparison faded away somewhat, as I begun to discover and get used to its own personality.This is a low-key, unassuming yet honest and enjoyable record. The arrangements are quite simple with minimum of studio effects and technical tricks, and the music conveys the sensation of warmth and intimacy. It's the sort of a record that makes me think I would really like to see this band live, in some small club with a bunch of friends...it would make for a great evening.
     The album contains 12 tracks packed into some 48 minutes, little gems sparkling and shimmering in that special indie lo-fi way. One of the key ingredients here is Nicole's voice, lovely if perhaps not exceptionally powerful, it seems perfectly suited to Charming' sound. One of the guys (Ravi, the guitar player) takes over the mike on one of the songs, and as usual in these cases this turns out to be, to my ears at least, the weakest one of the bunch. But Ravi also provides backing harmonies on some other tracks, and that works very well.
     These guys picked a very appropriate name for themselves. Another comparison just occurred to me: early Frente!, in the days of "Whirled" EP...perhaps not so much the actual sound but the overall feel and attitude. Like Frente! was then, this band is the proof that it is perfectly possible to be melodic yet not commercial, sweet and charming yet not cloying, accessible without catering to the lowest common denominator. I was lucky to get my copy of Giant for free, but I wouldn't be disappointed if I'd bought it with my hard-earned cash. And I promise to buy their next one! (afries@zip.com.au)


Thanks to Andrew Fries for work on this entry.

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