US-Ohio - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 12 - 10/16/97
Self titled demo cassette
This tape arrived at the Norwegian Luna Kafé headquarter in
an envelope covered with colourful slogans, making it clear that
singer/songwriter Charles McClure is proud of his music in a very
straight-forward way. According to an included short biography, this tape
was first released in the summer of 1996, handed away by McClure himself
on Cincinnati's Fountain Square. However, most of the songs on this cassette seems to
be recorded in 1994.
Charles McClure has written, arranged and produced all six songs on this demo.
Details are not given, but I think he also plays all instruments himself.
Anyway, he's a true DIY musician, who has come up with a very unique sound,
which is present on all tracks. Although his main inspiration seems to be
the 50's & 60's for melody, the production and arrangements are more
difficult to pin down. The overall sound quality is lo-fi, but
matches the songs' (perhaps unintentional)
psychedelic and ambient qualities perfectly.
What makes for the ambience is especially the vocals. The lead
vocal is low, so it's sometimes difficult to hear the words.
The backing vocals are often welded together with the lead vocal,
floating just below the surface in a most intriguing way. But also
an unpredictible bass apply some ambient qualities here and there.
The guitar work, both rhythm and lead, is most of the time
loose and relaxed, choosing its own way through the songs,
straying away from fixed patterns. I'm not a big fan of drum-machines,
but the way they are used here, fits nicely into the scheme of things.
Any drummer trying to copy the action is in for trouble. Add some
twisted synth (flute-guitar, "chinese"-something, etc.), and
you're closer to something else than you've ever been.
I've laughed quite a lot while listening to this tape, but
a song like My Personality is also beautiful, and even though
I can't make out all the lyrics, its emotional qualities grows
on you. It could have been a Roy Orbison tune, but
I find it very hard to mention other artists as reference for
McClure's sound, which is extra-terrestrial, and a bigger
mystery than any X-Files case. I guess listening to this tape
can give you a taste of how it's like being abducted by a UFO -
when it's all over, you don't quite know what really happened,
and it's hard to find words describing the experience. All you know
is that McClure has left an implant in your brain that will be
hard to remove.
The cassette is available from Charles McClure himself.
E-mail McClure for further information,
or drop a postcard to the following address:
Charles McClure, 6308 Corbly Street, Cincinnati, OH 45230 USA.
Also, take a look at the Luna Kafé Chas interview!
Copyright © 1997 Knut Tore Breivik