Charlotte Church – Two (2013)
I’m going to introduce you to a revelation I had a couple of days ago.
Remember Charlotte Church? The fresh-faced Welsh teenage classical singer, who moved into pop music and I’ve historically seen little point in listening to?
Well, she went away to have a couple of sprogs and she’s back and she’s… changed. Having released a “grown-up” pop album in 2010, she went on to begin a series of EPs. Five are planned in total, and One (2012) and Two have been released, with Three coming soon.
These EPs are a sucker punch, they are so unexpected; I have always been able to credit Church with having a good voice despite the fact that the music she made was not at all to my taste. Now she has put her voice to use in an almost avant-alternative way.
I didn’t find One that engaging, but Two is fantastic. A real showcase of talent from someone who has seen multiple sides of the music industry and has eschewed her former pop career.
Two begins with the a dark, downtempo pop number with disconcerting vocal inflections. The sparse synths give plenty of space for Church to showcase her vocal talents and I am reminded a little of Bjork; especially considering the hint of experimental coming through to close the track.
Breach Of The Peace is closer to crossover pop/folk and probably the most traditionally pop track. Her voice is very strong on this one, but it isn’t really a track to me that excites, while The Mistress has a catchy vocal hook, backed by haunting chorus, but is over too soon, an oddly engaging track.
Nerve sees Church’s vocal processed beyond recognition and leaves her sounding like Air did in 1998. An instant downtempo classic.
And she saves the best til last. Lasts, Or Eschaton is an unnerving downtempo track which builds in intensity, as Church turns from angel of hope at the beginning of the track, before the track becomes infinitely more dangerous, breaks down with massive crunchy bass kicks and I am once again reminded of Bjork as it seems Church was not an angel of hope but rather of destruction.
In total, a great EP, downtempo and perilously close to a screaming precipice of avant pop. A real explosion from leftfield that leaves you wondering just what will happen in the rest of this EP series, the preview video for Three and the recently released track from the same only heighten the anticipation.
It is testament to her talent and also to her confidence to head off on this tack, I don’t know whether she will lose fans as a result of this new direction, but she has certainly gained a fan here and I eagerly await the next installment.
Favourite tracks: Lasts Or Eschaton, Mistress, Nerve
Spotify link: Charlotte Church – Two
Bandcamp link: http://charlottechurchmusic.bandcamp.com/album/two