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CHARLOTTES (Buy CDs by this artist)
Liar EP (UK Cherry Red) 1990
Things Come Apart (UK Cherry Red) 1991

The melding of Sonic Youth-inspired feedback, thickly strummed guitars and pristine pop which came to be referred to as shoegazer music for the proponents who stood motionless on stage and looked down at their feet (or foot pedals) did not have a more apt representative than Charlottes. With airy female vocals, tom-tom drumming and buckets of reverb, the group existed about as long as popularity for the movement did in England.

Liar is a three-song 12-inch with the uptempo thickness of the title track as its main attraction. However, a cover of "Venus" (Shocking Blue by way of Bananarama) with drums and cymbals beating everywhere merits some attention, even with the uselessly extended jam and false stop for its second half.

Things Come Apart offers a hodgepodge of styles (the goth-pop of "Prayer Song" and "Beautify" hide a lack of melody behind forced atmospherics), but the vocals stay strong throughout, remaining especially confident holding long phrases during "Mad Girl's Love Song."

[Ben Goldberg]
This piece was first published in Badaboom Gramophone #3 and appears here with permission.