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Charade - The Best Is Yet To Come

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 18 / 5 / 2005

Charade - The Best Is Yet To Come
Label: Skipping Stone Records
Format: CD


Strong summery indie pop with a bite on debut album from Swedish husband and wife team, The Charade

It’s strange how we never really pay much attention to those things easily within our reach. The chances are that although you might well be unimpressed with the place where you live others will travel there to check out places of interest which you’ve never bothered with your presence as it’s so local it can’t be that good. The same goes for music; currently living in Sweden I’ve been guilty of ignoring for the most part a lot of indie music out here. My once blinkered view that if it didn’t come from the U.K. or the U.S.A. was changed forever when I realised that some of the best ‘Americana’ or alt. Country or whatever it’s being called this week was being produced in Scandinavia and in Sweden in particular. The up side of having those blinkers removed is that suddenly there is a mass of good bands and songs to discover. Unlike all the other writers who have reviewed The Charade’s debut album, ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’, I can’t claim to have a detailed knowledge of the band's past achievements. But it appears the trio of husband and wife Ingela (vocals) and Mikael (keyboards and bass) Matsson and Magnus Karlsson have served their time in well-respected indie pop bands like Red Sleeping Beauty, Happydeadmen and The Shermans. After just one play of the trio’s debut album I’m going to have to check out their past recordings because this is some of the best jangle indie pop I’ve heard in years. Not having any knowledge of a bands past can sometimes be an advantage as I came to this album with no expectations. The flowers on the cover gave some indication that it might fall into the fey indie pop category especially when on reading the credits the main vocals are by a female. And if we’re talking genres then indie pop is definitely where this album belongs but it’s first class indie pop and dangerously close at this point in time of being the soundtrack to this summer if it ever gets here. From the opening ‘Monday Morning’ it’s clear that the band have a way with melodies. All the 11 songs are composed by the band, and have a neat line in lyrics. It’s a kind of Phil Spector wall of sound made of plaster board (gips if you’re in Sweden) rather than solid brick, and that’s not a criticism, there’s a brightness to the sound the band make, a real summer feel that pulls them apart from the rest of the crowd. It’s not a dense sound but a solid, bright, summery collection of songs where the sunshine pop melodies are betrayed at times by the sadness in the lyrics. While Magnus and Mikael are undoubtedly talented musicians, the playing throughout the album is outstanding and the production by Mikael is not lo-fi like much of this type of shiny pop music the main attraction here is in Ingela’s angelic vocals. If like me, you find girlish vocals appealing when combined with pure pop melodies you will find much to treasure here. This is the first album of sunshine pop with decent lyrics I’ve heard in a good while, possibly one of the best ever in fact. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why the band have turned out such a strong collection on their first album. Maybe it’s a winning combination of those vocals, talented musicians and their winning way with melodies and maybe their previous bands were as good as this but if so, surely they would have been more well known. Maybe it’s just that magic that happens when a few like-minded people get together to make music. Any band that can make a ballad titled ‘Stockholm January 2005’ sound like the soundtrack to a late evening at the height of summer deserve to be heard. With Magnus taking the vocals along with Ingela (Magnus also handles the vocals on the outstanding ‘On The Bar’ all jangling guitars and another Charade melody plucked from heaven so it’s not all female fronted vocals which adds a nice texture to the album) it’s a fine way to end the album. If you like your indie pop with a little more bite than usual then ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ fits the bill nicely, if you just want some summery pop music to blast the cobwebs away and help the sunshine through this collection couldn’t come more highly recommended.

Track Listing:-
1 Monday Morning
2 What Do You See In Me?
3 Night Time Confession
4 Stories Remain Untold
5 Lying On My Couch
6 When Trouble Comes Our Way
7 On The Bar
8 The Saddest Story Ever Told
9 The Sun Is Gonna Shine On You ... And Me
10 It's Summer Again
11 Stockholm January 2005

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