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Polaroids Of Androids

Record Reviews

8.6

Charge Group
Escaping Mankind

Eels' fantastic Blinking Lights opus is one of my favourite records ever. It came into my life right when I needed it and held my hand tightly as I fought through what was a tough time. More importantly though - it changed my perspective of music. Everything didn't have to hit me with an aggressive nature to grab my attention. It proved that smaller, weaker, heartfelt music had just as much strength. My musical tastes developed a lot because of that record. I grew up. As lame as it sounds - I think it was the first time I genuinely started to 'feel' music.

Which brings me to Charge Group's debut album Escaping Mankind. It's exactly the kind of record I would have completely dismissed after a single listen before this 'musical awakening'. Their sound exists on a knife edge, balancing perfectly between emotion fueled freedom and complete fragility. Their style - often labeled as 'death folk' - is formed around a unique combination of honest Australian songwriting, well controlled silence, mountain-sized whirling soundscapes and orchestral intermissions. With a violinist in their ranks, the group are able to utilise the instrument's characteristic pain-stretched nature as the record's main emotional foundation.

While on occasions the group dive head first into instrumental pieces that could easily be used as soundtracks for funeral parades, they are at their best when vocalist Matt Blackman guides the music with his effortless delivery and endlessly quotable lyrics. The distant, occasionally pain-laced vocals are often brought forward as the sole light within the dark musical arrangements, while at other times settle themselves alongside the music, walking hand-in-hand through a more uptempo composition.

The success of this style of music depends heavily on how well the group connect the line between their feelings and their output. Charge Group do this with masterful precision and both vocals and music equally thrust forward the group's passionate purpose. The details that are packed into each song don't over complicate things, but instead act as the backbone of the continual transitions between forceful and delicate. This contrasting shift that the group play with in several different formats makes it impossible for the listener to not be dragged into the world the group have created.

I am continually thankful for Blinking Lights and the role it played in widening my musical tastes. Without it I might have missed this fantastic album, which is not only a fine piece of Australian music but also the best "grown up" record I have heard all year.

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Record Reviews
Charge Group

 

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Comments

zone blitzer

anyone?
c'maawwwwn...
this album is amazing

9 years ago

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