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Review: 'Nieland, Charlie'

-  Label: 'Bandcamp'
-  Genre: 'Indie' -  Release Date: '5.3.21.'

Our Rating:
This is Charlie Nielands latest solo album, he's best known for being in Her Vanished Grace and Luster Lit as well as production credits from Debbie Harry to the Scissor Sisters, Rufus Wainwright etc.

This opens with the straining guitars giving way to a strummed guitar with skittery drums as Charlie explains why he's Always On Fire for more power and more control, they way the music works reminds me of Zero 7 but with male vocals that are all sensitive indie.

The early single Divisions is next that takes a good look at what's dividing our societies right now over the sort of drum pattern that could have been stolen from an early Simple Minds hit. Charlie thankfully is seeking ways to unite us all, as the guitars go all sinuous and minimal.

Exploding isn't quite as explosive at the title might suggest, but it does of course have a quiet loud formula to build to the musical explosions as the lyrics explore more metaphors for the explosions you create together while staring deep into space. The spacey sounds are often there buried just underneath the guitars waiting to burst forth.

The Falling Man is descriptive observational gentle indie folktronica exploring what caused the fall and wondering what can be done as the music swirls and abates and allows the strings to accompany the landing close to rock bottom as the relationship is laid to rest and the strings urge us to move on.

I Refuse has what sounds like a very loose stringed bass sound at its core as this rant rapidly unfolds as we find out what Charlie is refusing to do, no he isn't behaving like a teenage brat, he has deeper concerns than that and just don't ask him to go on a trip he just wants to be alone in that space with you.

The Land Of Accident sounds as musically portentous as the lyrics are questioning and searching for unity rather than life's endless divisions and was written as part of The Bushwick Book Clubs International Performance series.

Meta Incognita has all sorts of sort of proggy indie stuff going on with weird noises and a very layered approach that I seem to have focused on rather than the lyrics that seemed like a background texture almost as if under cover of the music till the breakdown and slowly flourishing build.

Another Night On Earth is slight ethereal background chill out song. Tightrope is a building college rocker given to acoustic interludes as the familiar prom night worries unfold, like it should be on the soundtrack to another American teen classic, as something odd happens every time the strings come in.

Skin is all about the shimmering violins and the slightly intrusive drums that play out like the gossamer layers of skin he's dreaming of, hoping to delve deep beneath your skin, trying to get to your very core.

So Few Have So Much is another one of the earlier singles that I've now heard enough to have stuck in my head as the story of betrayal at the core of the song unfolds over the acoustic guitars and dreamy accompaniment that has some very Robert Wyatt Rock Bottom style keyboards that emerge and fade in the centre of the song.

Some Things You Keep To Yourself is a bit slower and more hush hush I can't really tell you this, I really shouldn't tell you this but you know those stories you've heard of the places you shouldn't go well I really won't be telling you my one, just know I have one ok.

The album closes with Pawns that was also released as a single it's dystopian doomed slow march of the Pawns towards some desperate new reality and as you commit the terrible acts you finally realize you've been used as a pawn for someone else's agenda, if we lived in anytime but the Twenty Twenties this would seem rather paranoid, but these days it's more like normal reportage of one day of watching the news in America, with music that sounds like a slowed down symphony played on synths and percussion.

Find Out More at https://charlienieland.bandcamp.com/album/divisions http://charlienieland.com/ https://www.facebook.com/CharlieNieland

  author: simonovitch

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