REVIEW: CHARLIE – CHARLIE (2009)
It’s approaching a year since her self-titled album was released on the independent rock label at(h)ome in Paris as well as her biggest-to-date concert at Place de la République’s Café de la Danse. Since then she’s carried away the Prix des Écritures de la Chanson 2009 for songwriting, done her tour of television, and remains a regular spin…a veritable rarity. Charlie‘s from Lyon, about two hours from Paris, and grew up performing in a rock band with her brother; hence being housed on at(h)ome. Influenced by the likes of Feist, Bjork and Jacques Brel, her self-titled is layered in carefree pop melodies and piano ballads melded with legit, unexpected rock riffs. The closest you get to distinctly French melodies is “Viens”, albeit it holds the romp and ruckus akin to 1930s musicals through its horns bursts and short-strummed swing.
Charlie’s pop diversity lifts the album as the butterfly she often binds in her hair, both in the album art and on stage. Ouai, there are love and sorrowful songs as with “Le Sapin” (The Christmas Tree). Despite lyrics like Car demain c’est Noël, et moi j’ai rein sous mon sapin., which ordinarily belay melancholy over figuratively having nothing to look forward to with Christmas, instead retains an unexpected, hopeful glee given her carefree contradictory melodies. “Menteur” is swathed in the opposite shade of her music; a sole piano with a tugging, emotional voice (Moi, je suis menteur…). Meanwhile “Les Amoureux de Passage,” with its sweeping jazz snare and gliding chorus, escalates skywards without falling for the typical pop exaggerations.
Encircling the Lyon chanteuse‘s talents, auprès de the end of her debut is “Dans les Nuages”. The acoustic guitar enhances her delicate, gentle voice up to the clouds and crême she describes. The combination of a featherlight voice and refreshing songwriting is an unexpected surprise off at(h)ome as well as the pop genre. For those dreamers who desire an album to relish in instead of leaf through, listen to the tones coming from this singer from land of the Rhône and Saône.