Charlatan - Remarkable
Review by Shannon Shumaker
Salina, Utah scrap metal band, Charlatan don’t take themselves too seriously on their debut full-length, Remarkable, but in doing so have created a very unique, complex and most importantly chaotic release. By poking fun at reality with sarcasm and humor Charlatan repeatedly break the fourth wall between wild sound changes and incredible vocal work.
Opening Remarkable is the theatrical, western influenced “Sevier County Killer.” Vocally, this first track is very gritty and fun to listen to - the characterization and tone of the vocals really sets the scene for the coming songs and immerses you in Charlatan’s world. Musically, the band quickly showcases their wide range and versatility from the the western influences which quickly transform into wild screams. It’s absolutely insane, and quickly, you’ll realize that the majority of Remarkable follows suit.
The most “normal” sounding song on the album comes second. The catchy and massive “Bag Of Tricks” further explores Charlatan’s sound but with a more classic song structure, evening things out a bit. The chaos quickly returns on the following song, “Can’t Destroy Her,” though, which is spearheaded by emotive vocals. Much like “Sevier County Killer,” there’s an insane amount of energy and fire in this song, which is all over the place musically but never feels inconsistent or choppy. It’s crazy just how often the band manages to change tempo or mood without batting an eye. Then comes the poppy and soft, “Instant Cult Classic,” which pokes fun at Charlatan’s own sound with the opening line, “Well here it is, something soft, something sensitive.” The change in sound will certainly catch you off guard, but much like the three songs before it, it doesn’t feel out of place at all. Lyrically, these songs are playful - they don’t take themselves seriously and that’s what makes them so fun to listen to. Moments like the “Simon Says” part in “Instant Cult Classic” break the fourth wall and poke fun at classic songwriting - it’s funny and clever as hell.
Following “Instant Cult Classic” comes the goofy, “Ray Gun” and the chaotic single, “The Sick Nasty.” At first glance, Remarkable might seem a bit all over the place, but once you really dive into this album, even the weirdest songs are consistent with the underlying themes and sounds. “The Sick Nasty” and following song, “Slavior,” underneath wild instrumentation and funny lyricism touch on sexuality and religion, all without sacrificing their individuality. Much like the opening track, “Slavior” also ties in with those western influences while sounding massive as hell.
Then, a few songs later comes the incredible final track, “Remarkable,” which again breaks the fourth wall with lines like, “We were saving the best part for the end” - and they certainly were. “Remarkable” is not only catchy as hell, but it contains quite possibly some of the best vocal runs and wild lyricism on the album, going from somewhat serious introspection to lines that will literally make you laugh out loud. With these wild ten track, Charlatan have created something incredibly unique. No two songs sound the same, but as a whole, the album feels like one cohesive piece of music. Lyrically, these songs are brilliant, poking fun at real human emotions without taking themselves too seriously and musically, it’s all over the place, chaotic and incredibly fun to listen to. It sounds cheesy as hell, but I’m sure it’s what the band intended - this album truly is Remarkable.
Listen to "The Sick Nasty" or "Instant Cult Classic"
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