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Chart Chat EP Review : ‘Charlotte Church – Three’

Chart Chat EP Review : ‘Charlotte Church – Three’
Artistic freedom is an important thing in the current music business, and Charlotte Church has just that.  No longer under pressure to make a top ten single or a no.1 album she is halfway through a series of five EPs, with the latest being Three which we are looking at this week.  The EP (and its predecessor) is available directly from her website or via iTunes, whichever you prefer.
The song opens with sparse instrumentation which provides the perfect backdrop to Charlotte’s voice but it manages to change volume dramatically half way through. It sets the tone for the rest of the EP by providing music which makes you sit up and listen.  It’s certainly not background music, it deserves more attention than that.  Equally it needs time because there are not three minute pop hits, but that doesn’t mean to say this isn’t a hugely enjoyable set of songs. 
This offers a new angle by featuring choral voices over the intro, and at just one minute and forty three seconds it is easily the shortest track on the EP, and that includes the fade out which builds to become the intro of ‘Like A Fool’. The production provides another twist halfway through as the percussion comes in, and it becomes a song that you want to hear again if only because it is so quirky and different to much of the other material to be found on the EP.
Like A Fool
For me this is perhaps the stand out track on here, but each listener will have their own favourite of the seven songs. “Now I’m losing control / But I just can’t say no / I see through your smiles, your disguise / won’t take more, no more of your lies” are the telling lyrics while the music continues its quiet, yet dramatic theme.  While journalists try to pigeonhole Charlotte’s new material (I’ve read comparisons to everyone from Radiohead to Bjork) it’s much clever than that and defies being pinned to just one artist or genre.
Magicians Assistant
“I’ll be the dove / you can hide in your hand” sings Charlotte on this track – lyrics you probably won’t find on the new One Direction single!  It’s another song which builds slowly while once again there is a slight change of tempo halfway through the song which brings in both an electric guitar and a jazz section.  There really are no rules here!  It ends in an almost musical chaos, reminiscent of perhaps even progressive rock. 
House Upon The Sea
This has a more acoustic feel to it while Charlotte’s vocals are more haunting than some of the other tracks.  A live version of the song recorded at Moles in Bath has been available on the NME website, along with her performance of ‘Sparrow’ at the same venue. 
I Can Dream
This song was uploaded to YouTube (though without an accompanying video) back in July and gave fans the first taster of material from this EP.  It’s probably the most commercial of the tracks in that it is more uptempo, although it does rock out briefly a couple of minutes in, and once more towards the end. It also reminds us just what a powerful voice that Charlotte has even if now it sits over a different kind of musical backing to that which started her career as a child star.
Water Tower
You wouldn’t necessarily describe this as a single, but it does nevertheless have a video to accompany in it which sees Charlotte singing in the midst of a big river.  It has been viewed over 20k times on YouTube and attracted some attention from the mainstream press.  It’s another subtle and delicate song, and keeps within the feel established by the other songs on the EP.
Charlotte remains in a very fortunate position.  She gets to make the music that she as an artist wants to make, and yet she retains her links to the mainstream media.  She has performed tracks from this EP on Terry Wogan’s Radio 2 show and This Morning on ITV. She has her own studio in the grounds of her house which enables her to balance her family commitments with her music making and the results so far have been more than impressive.  There is no confirmed date yet for EP’s Four and Five but we eagerly await their release in the coming months.
Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

21 September, 2013 - Posted by | ChartChat

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