I Hope I Am Not A Monster
Laughing Outlaw Records
Singers and writers Crystal Rose and Paul McDonald have done Charlie Horse proud with this set of songs. The Australian band manages to combine the pierce of Neil Young’s Crazy Horse-styled guitar leads with bar-room ditties that Chrissie Hynde wouldn’t sound of place supping back on.
There are country-rock ballads and toe-tappers and just a thin threat of post-grunge guitar rock-outs too, The Lights Are Fading Behind Me feels like a song Jan Hellriegel may have written, expert twang behind it colours in shades of The Cruel Sea and the sun-scorched Americana that this band so clearly digs in on.
Another Kiwi comparison is that Charlie Horse’s music would travel well with The Bads, this Aussie crew just tending (slightly) more toward the rock side with one or two songs referencing Green-era R.E.M. guitar-wise and then there’s the super-hooky Am I Not Your Baby No More. A highlight for me.
Kiwis can look forward to the promise that the band is aiming to tour New Zealand later in the year- so get in ahead of time and hear this album. It’s great – I’ve been kicking back with it for a few months now. And it’s full of great songs, not a dud on the album.
I like this Blue Mountains take on Americana, literate, witty, well-crafted with just enough in terms of rough edges, guitars that strike out, and like The Renderers and so much of the work of Spencer P. Jones (in his various guises) there’s a deep-rooted understanding of some of the very fine alternative music from the 1980s layered in over a country/ish feel.
Check out Charlie Horse. I’m well impressed.
Postscript: I’d already been listening to the album, I was already a fan – I was already planning this review. And then I received an email. A spokesperson from the band contacted me, he’d read my post about how I Will Work For Money. Not wanting to take advantage of a blogger’s time the band was offering me a payment for a review. They made it clear they were happy with positive or negative or anything in-between (“your own thoughts/feelings – not wanting anything other than that”). I wrote back explaining that my post was really about corporations/organisations expecting work for nothing. I told the band member I was stunned by the offer, grateful and everyone in my house knows my bank account could have done with the money – or any money (at any time – ever) in fact. It was a very generous offer. But I turned them down because artists shouldn’t have to pay for reviews. And I’ll happily work for myself for free – if you know what I mean. This is my site. And I get to choose what happens here. But I just wanted to mention this because to me it spoke volumes about the band’s integrity – they were prepared to pay to have their album heard and commented on. That’s not desperate and it’s not payola. It’s a firm belief that they have something that people should hear – they believe in their work. Unfortunately it would be construed as payola (and possibly desperate) – by you and I was uncomfortable with the payola-aspect to it, certainly. And I had to decline the offer. I reassured the band that I loved the album and was already planning a review. And so here it is. I added this postscript because I was genuinely touched by the offer of payment.