Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs – Clarietta Review

Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs have been mostly talked up rather than talked down in the last nine months or so but I fear that most of the talk has been about everything apart from the band themselves. Yes they are recreating the New York Art Rock and Proto-Punk sound. Yes they were supporting TOY. Yes they are mates with The Horrors and this and that and all the various views people have of them because of it. But what of Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs themselves? Sure it’s nice to create a picture and an image of the band but we should judge them on their music first and they’ve made sure people have done that with their debut album Clarietta.

‘I Watch You’ was their debut single back in October last year and it starts off with a quietly grinding guitar riff that sounds a little like a BRMC riff but comparisons aside, they soon break into their full on chorus of grinding guitar riffs thats ushered in the the aggressive and rapid drums that’s maintained throughout the song. Charlies vocals come in with it’s slightly off kilter sound that polarises him and the instrumentals in a way that both can be noticed and appreciated and the subtle backing vocals join Charlie’s towards the end of each verse and they are used enough to create the gathering sound at the end of each verse but they don’t feature at evey line which keeps focus on the other elements at play and doesn’t distract too much from them. The song closes with a great instrumental of those grinding guitars, bass and energetic percussion but from this point the Farfisa keyboard takes on the lead role and filters through the sound-scape well. All these elements take on a more steadier approach in ‘Things We Be’ for a more melodic quality and this allows for lead guitar elements to stand out as well as Charlie’s vocals that sort of work in conjunction more with the instrumentals than in ‘I Watch You’ yet still stand out and it’s this separation that breaks up the sort of wave of sound approach many ‘similar’ groups use and this makes them more appealing and less combative in the sense that you can be pulled into the lyrics, rythm section, lead or percussion elements more easily.

With their most recent single ‘Be Glamorous’ the verses are divided in two in how the grinding lead guitar element goes back and forth with with the other along with the Keys and this splits the vocals and lyrics for the Be Glamorous lyric at the close of each verse. The drums hurl the song into the chrous well and then go on to maintain a simple and basic pace on the verses and shows that unilke some bands; they are well aware of depth and scale in the album and each element is less monotomous as a result while still keeping with the style and feel of the album. The title track ‘Clarietta is sort of of a blur of the three singles with the urgency of ‘I Watch You’ but with all the elements playing their more controlled part as they did with ‘Things We Be’ but with the raging guitar solo’s appearing at intervals throughout. Other songs such as ‘Go Blow a Gale’ have a much more steadier and broken up approach which is less effective as the vocals are almost too detacthed from the instumentals and doesn’t really suit Charlie’s vocal style at the moment. However the same sort of approach in ‘Be a Complete Dream’ is more effective as the instrumentals, though steady are playing a more prominent role and sort of gives the vocals something to work off.

All in all this is more than a solid debut from Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs. They maximise the basic elements of their songs to great effect and aside from being pretty capable musicians, they wouldn’t make bad producers after working with Edwyn Collins as the scale and depth is apparent with the album but it’s still largely kept in it’s genre or style. While it has many of those late 70’s american sort of elements to their music; the album in terms of style and lyrics are pretty British which results in a happy comprimise. Not a perfect debut, but it’s not a million miles off.

Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs – Clarietta = 8.5/10

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