Charlie Boyer and The Voyeurs - Clarietta

by Steve Reynolds Rating:7 Release Date:2013-05-17

Being linked to the hugely influential Television doesn't carry any negatives. If anything, it gives new artists such as Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs with a template to work with and a base for their own songs and directions. Aided and abetted by the evergreen and richly sort knob twiddling-duties of Edwyn Collins, they coolly seep into our consciousness with an unnerving air of confidence on their effervescent debut Clarietta.

It's a gleaming, angular beginning, packed with bounce, guile and Farfisa jarring on 'The Things We Be', which glides effortlessly. Yeah, you could claim it's simply dot-to-dot NYC art-rock but the arrangement gets into the bloodstream with a simplicity which aligns to the darker echelons of indie-pop rather than the layered structure of their obvious influences.

The looseness and the crunching guitars on 'Go Blow a Gale' solidify the early part of the album and offer no let up for breath-catching. But while it's an intriguing beginning, Clarietta's not a flawless album, as personified by the rather lacklustre 'A Lions Way'. However, the preceding song, 'You Haven't Got a Chance', melds swirling psychedelic organ and layered fuzz, proving that what they do best is jaunty shiny, pop songs.

They aren't afraid to push the boat out creatively and they should be praised for 'Clarinet'. Charlie Boyer's voice remains pretty high in the mix and his uncanny Tom Verlaine esque vocal works cleverly with the hazy, almost woozy, hypnotic blend of organ and opulent guitar licks, reminiscent of The Doors at their drug-addled best.

Swash-buckling vigour is the order of the day on 'Watch You', with Charlie displaying some sinister voyeuristic (ahem) intentions against melodramatic keys and guitar. 'Be Glamourous' stomps along with the earthiness of Slade, the spangly glam rock of T-Rex, and the androgyny of The Sweet. It's quite separate from most of the song structures on the album but it's a hilarious singalong all the same.

The songs shift in length from tracks to track, some at four-plus minutes, some less than three, but what they have done here is ensure each one fits with what they are trying to achieve as a band. The music's flabby when it's appropriate, lean and taut when it needs to be. Closer 'The Central Tonne' clocks in at six-plus minutes but yet again, it doesn't incite you to flick the stop button but rather reels you in to give your full attention till the end. A confident and assured debut.

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