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.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Ed Sheeran dedicates song to David Cameron
Star Wars 7: David Fincher's sequel idea sounds a lot more intriguing
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Benefits 'smart cards' plan revealed by Iain Duncan Smith to stop claimants spending welfare money on alcohol
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