Friday 07 May 2004
Charlemagne is the solo project of Carl John, leader of the alt.country band Noahjohn and proud possessor of the most disturbing face-fungus in pop. Charlemagne is what he did to relax after touring last winter: holed up in his Wisconsin home studio with an acoustic guitar, a primitive drum-machine and a few old keyboards, he wrote and recorded an album of character sketches told from shifting viewpoints, playing all the instruments and layering all the vocal harmonies by himself. The results combine the deceptive complacency of West Coast close-harmony country-rock with the darker, more sinister undercurrents of post-modern exponents such as Smog and Bonnie "Prince" Billy: both men spring to mind in "August Evenings" for lines like "I was stupid for your terror" and "Now you laugh at a dying man/ Who must partake of medicine/ To keep from doing himself in". Elsewhere, there are jolly songs of treachery ("How Could He?"), wretched men haunted by dead lovers ("Dawn Upon"), complex depictions of love and loss ("In Absentia") and, in "Portrait with No Shortage of History", a devoted, pained appraisal of a junkie lover. The sketches have an engrossing depth of character and an engagingly philosophical attitude.
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming street artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 5 The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
Doctor Who, Flatline - review: Clara isn’t half bad as the Time Lord
Downton Abbey review series 5, episode 5: Period drama falls disappointingly flat
Star Wars memorabilia called a 'bit of plastic' on Antiques Roadshow by Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt is intriguing as unsympathetic war hero
Star Wars Episode 7 has almost finished filming
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage