Monday 28 February 2022


Their record label calls them "surrealistic doom lords", we at Desert Psychlist prefer to call them "sonic sculptures of darkened groove" but whatever you decide to call them there is no getting away from the fact that Portland's Charley No Face, Carina Hartley (keys/vocals); Nick Wulforst (guitar/vocals); Brad Larson (bass) and Tim Abel (drums),  are a band with a sound totally unlike any other. The band caused a bit of a stir last year with their debut album "The Green Man" its mix of psych, doom and alt-rock coated in shoegaze(ish) vocal tones had a completely different feel and approach to much of the music that was being released around it at that time and its release garnered much praise and many plaudits from all the right people in all the right quarters. This year the band return with a new album, "Eleven Thousand Volts" (Forbidden Place Records) and if you thought "The Green Man" was something a little special then wait 'til this one hits your lugholes.

We mentioned "shoegaze" in our intro piece and to some that particular word is like a red rag to a bull causing much gnashing of teeth and hand wringing due to that sub-genre's tendencies for feyness and its perceived lack of  any satisfying crunch but fear not there is no feyness to be found on these seven cuts of eclectic grooviness and as for crunch, well there is more here than anyone could reasonably ask for, That "crunch" makes its presence felt almost right from the starting pistol on first track "Eyes" when after a few seconds of  solid drumming and liquid bass the guitar kicks in with a riff so caustic you could probably remove rust with it. As much as we at Desert Psychlist love a good riff we also love an undulating dynamic and Charley No Face have no problem with supplying that particular commodity, songs like "Flat Circle", "Big Sleep" and "Satan's Hands" are all blessed with dynamics that swell and dissipate with unerring regularity, dreamy psychedelic passages constantly interchanging with heavier  sections all overlaid with a mix of mellow shoegaze-like lead vocals and ethereal harmonies, sublime is just too small a word for music this good!

Charley No Face are a band with a unique sound and groove, a band who have not found the need to cherry-pick from the bands of 70's, the 80's and the 90's in order to forge their sound because theirs is the sound of today and maybe the future.
Check 'em out .....

© 2022 Frazer Jones

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