The titles of Charles Howl’s album My Idol Family specifically identify Lou Reed, Damon Albarn and John Lennon as musical idols, and it is certainly possible to see these heavyweights emerging in Howl’s songwriting and production. You’ve got that sweet melodic pop-rock sensibility, with lightly-psychedelic touches and a playful vibe. On Oh Many Records.
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“Didn’t they just have an album out a couple weeks ago?” I ask, scratching my head, before noticing the timestamp on my review of their last record was in fact July of 2015. Time’s a construct, mates. It’s present in my head because it was good; a twirling psychedelic symphony of wandering guitars and dusty magic synth, it laid a sweet, old-skool backdrop for the band to project their indie pop melodicism onto. Now they’re back with ‘My Idol Family’ doing largely the same thing and god bless, quite frankly.
I love “The Dinner Party” so let’s start there -- it doubles up as a wonderful microcosm of all the things this band do well. A twinkling and totally asinine synth melody twists around like an intentionally bad joke, giving way to a warm bassline and a simple, effective song much sparser around the edge.s The motif works its way in here and there, when the band want to decorate their seriousness with its complete abandon. Moments like this crop up again and again, with synth chords and melodies acting as wondrous juxtapositions to crystalline guitarwork and a workmanlike vocal performance.
As ever -- and ever is longer than the apparent two week existence I’d imagined for them -- Charles Howl prove experts of combining two twinworlds into one. Those psych implications give way to a dulcet indie pop sensibility we’re happy to take off their hands.
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- My Idol Family by Charles Howl
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