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December 2018 / January 2019
Review

Charles Watson - Now That I’m A River

A notably considered and distinguished release.
Published: 8:36 pm, May 16, 2018
A notably considered and distinguished release.

Label: Moshi Moshi
Released: 18th May 2018
Rating: ★★★★

As half of Slow Club, Charles Watson treated us to four albums of soul-infused indie pop while we watched him strike a calm, unassuming figure who stood back and didn’t make a fuss. Now out on his own, it’s still easy to find that sense of serenity and the influence of smooth soul but there’s no hiding from the limelight, nor is there any need to. The release is apparently inspired by reoccurring themes and language of JG Ballard's 'Hello America’, but all we know is that it’s perfectly primed for chilling out and switching off from the buzz of the city.

Opener 'Voices Carry Through The Mist’ is the perfect taster for what’s about to come as it glides elegantly along at a pace most pensioners would be able to keep up with. As the record plays out, presumably in the corner of a neatly furnished flat in East London, hints of an almost country music influence start to rear their head. Not something you’d perhaps have expected to make an appearance but actually the Western Front feel of certain guitar licks really add an impressive string to Watson’s quivering bow.

Guillemots' Fyfe Dangerfield is part of an expertly assembled band who sound fully engaged with the luscious textures that dominate throughout. Watson’s production skills also see him explore the possibilities of harmonies and the sampled versions of his own voice bring a distinct air of intrigue to the record, at times helping save your mind from wandering elsewhere.

For a debut album, this is a notably considered and distinguished release, and it’ll make ideal listening for spending a Sunday afternoon flicking through old photo albums and chuckling away to yourself about times that weren’t quite so crushing. An appropriately dreamy album for gazing the days away. Ciaran Steward

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