Review: Lauren Sherritt
Ever craved some beautifully crafted music comprised of gently soaring harmonies and dainty whimsy, yet with a mature touch to the sound and lyrics? Well, Brisbane pop-folk band Charlie Mayfair, and its first offering, EP Watch My Hands, may just become your new addiction.
Forming only in January this year, Charlie Mayfair are set to make themselves heard around Australia after bursting out on the Brisbane scene over the past six months.
Comprised of Dave Di Marco (vocals/guitar), Hannah Shepherd (vocals/keys), Sam George-Allen (vocals/glock/ukulele), Will Weightman (drums/percussion) and Billy Bodean (bass/double bass) it can be clearly heard on the EP that Charlie Mayfair are dedicated to producing both beautiful and unique music. Above all, the quintet shows with Watch My Hands that they’ve got smarts as well as talent, and they have really pushed to both showcase the versatility of their music and cement their image and sound within the five tracks. The disc packaging is pretty and inviting, just like their songs, and their press photos (as can be seen on their Myspace) are a depiction of the whimsical, bohemian world in which their music is set. It looks and feels like Charlie Mayfair have had a really fun time creating this EP, and this feeling has infused into the music.
‘Watch My Hands’, the title track, opens the EP with a harmonic strain reminiscent of gospel choirs and immediately sets up a feeling of reverence within the listener. It is a soaring and somewhat worldly sounding tune that you can picture rolling across the vast green hills of some beautiful European country. Compared to the following songs, it does sound a little bit overcrowded though, as though the band have shown all their tricks at once and not waited for any build. ‘Watch My Hands’ is a great demonstration of the band’s musical prowess, particularly the harmonising vocals, but lacks a connection with the listener and misses the light and shade of other tracks.
‘Run’ is a sweet little love song; it’s a little softer and more insular than the rest, more simple. It is ‘Run’ which best showcases Charlie Mayfair’s potential to really connect with their listeners through lyrics such as these; “Let’s make trouble, let’s make mischief for ourselves/Let’s be honest, we don’t need anybody else.” ‘If I Fell Down’, on the other hand, is a more upbeat song, fun and dark. It’s a little sexier than the other tracks on the EP and more grounded, too. The lyrics, such as, “So this is it kid/Lips upon lips/Skin upon skin,” are captivating and nearly blackly comedic. This track also contains the band’s best use of playing with the harmonies the three vocalists create to really add emphasis to the lyrics and story.
Similar to ‘Run’, ‘Please Stay’ is a more simple offering. The band really plays with creating a sense of duologue and multiple voices in this song, something which would be great to see more of on an extended album. On the whole, Watch My Hands takes the listener through a really vast world of music in just five tracks, and makes it clear that Charlie Mayfair have the goods to go a long, long way.
It’s always exciting when a group of highly talented people create something together harmoniously, and Watch My Hands indeed feels like a collaboration of the best kind. It’s honest, dedicated and experimental, and it is plain to see why the band is garnering praise and popularity around the country. Hopefully the album that the members of Charlie Mayfair are currently working on will show a lot more of the same and perhaps a little more. I, for one, can’t wait to see what’s next to come from this highly talent group, and get my next hit of Charlie Mayfair.
Photo Gallery: Charlie Mayfair @ The Zoo, Brisbane 30 April 2010