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Almost Charlie - A Different Kind of Here

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 30 / 8 / 2017

Almost Charlie - A Different Kind of Here
Label: Words On Music
Format: CD


Transatlantic Berlin and New York-based songwriting partnership Almost Charlie deliver their fourth album of wistful pop

Mailbox music collaborations have become an increasingly common feature of electronic and hip-hop music over recent years, with cross-continental collaborations between musicians who’ve never actually met an increasingly fertile ground. They are less common in the world of guitar music, but there is no reason in principle while lyricists shouldn’t work in isolation from the musicians. Almost Charlie are now onto their fourth album, with New Yorker Charlie Mason playing the Bernie Taupin role and then sending his completed lyrics to Berlin, where Dirk Homuth sets them to music. Apparently, despite forming their partnership more than thirteen years ago, the pair have still yet to meet. It doesn’t prevent them forming a natural sounding partnership on record. Homuth, whose voice has been frequently compared (not unfairly) to John Lennon’s, sings these songs with real passion, and anyone hearing them without knowing about the band would probably assume he wrote them. Compared to their earlier efforts, the real development here is that Homuth is working with some outstanding accompanists – clearly influenced by the classic songwriters of the mid 70's, he is now able to do justice to those influences. While the core of the record remains relatively simple voice and acoustic guitar arrangements, these are backed with strings and delicate, layered production. The final effect is akin to late-period XTC, with hints of Elliott Smith’s major label work and even dabs of Prefab Sprout. Though Homuth has an almost academic ability to construct ‘classic pop’, the record avoids the trap of becoming formulaic by virtue of the emotional intensity in the lyric sheets. Almost Charlie continues to be a partnership that brings out the best in both parties.

Track Listing:-
1 Shadow Boy
2 Ambivalent
3 The Sadness of the Snow That Falls in May
4 Defective
5 The Loneliness of Sharks
6 Waiting
7 Robot
8 A Different Kind of Here
9 Sunset on Elysian Fields
10 Except for Her Name
11 Gold
12 I'll Still Be Missing You

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The Plural of Yes (2009)
Superb second album from lush-sounding Berlin/New York-based collaboration Almost Charlie, who draw strong comparisions with Prefab Sprout

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