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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Charlene
Charlene
Shark Attack! Music

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Ah, the 80s when we felt sorry for Anthony Michael Hall in the movies, but not off-screen. He could read his lines about girly undergarments or attempted suicide, and we'd all listen to "Bring On the Dancing Horses" and feel better about our lives. Admittedly, it may not have been that simple, but Charlene recalls a time of easy nostalgia.

Starting with their first track, "Ripoff," the Boston three-piece blends 80s new wave with distorted feedback and the steady pace of a well-tread synth line suitable for any John Hughes film. What's remarkable is that they can incorporate these patent trends into tributes to other genres. They have the enviable ability to harness their inspirations and create a wholly satisfying fusion of tastes: The second track, "Still", shows their pretty and surprisingly doleful take on atmospheric rock; "Shoot Yr. Life" toys with the emotional common ground between the Kinks and the Velvet Underground (complete with a delicious sing-along chorus); and "Ender" is a sparkling acoustic ballad to make the likes of Stephen Merritt turn his head.

Charlene floats between each craft with great ease, yet never loses the overall aura of timelessness. Their talents are best showcased in "Cathode", which borrows pieces from Her Space Holiday to create an aching soundtrack to an onscreen kiss by tearing a page from Molly Ringwald's diary, "If I could reach you now, it would be too beautiful." They're also wrought a masterpiece in "Sugarblocker", which skillfully weaves thoughtfully-placed electronics into a tapestry of lush harmonics.

As the album faithfully winds through its chosen moment, Charlene takes you from your time and places you gently into theirs. This beautifully sculpted debut reflects every bit of tenderness evinced from the 80s I choose to remember.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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