Single Review: Charles Watson – No Fanfare

By on Thursday, 16th November 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Singer and producer Charles Watson, best known until now as part of Sheffield alt-pop duo Slow Club, has just debuted his first solo material in the form of an atmospheric and synth-laden single titled ‘No Fanfare’. Watson gave some broad hints at the style of his solo work in Slow Club’s 2016 LP ‘One Day All This Won’t Matter Anymore’, which we reviewed right back here. The divide between his artistic leanings and those of his musical partner Rebecca Taylor was already beginning to surface on that record, and the two of them have apparently decided to follow their separate muses for the time being. (Taylor has also released solo work under the moniker Self Esteem.)

With light, ethereal instrumentation and Watson’s delicately introspective vocals, ‘No Fanfare’ doesn’t exactly soar, but instead gracefully floats through the listener’s sonic consciousness. That quality is surely intentional, and it seems remarkably appropriate to the song’s persistent lyrical examination of the ephemerality of relationships. “What chance have we got / when the flowerless sing of flooded orchards?”, Watson sings over a strummed acoustic guitar and a wash of amorphous synths.

His lyrics straddle the line between poetry and prose, often blending indistinctly into the soundscape. But musically, his idea still comes across. The synths adopt a mild wail of sorrow ahead of the pleading question “was it the cool mountain air / making your mind feel calm and empty / or was it the absence of myself?”. The addition of brass halfway through the song brings a hint of richness and warmth to the sonic texture, and a gorgeous electric guitar solo injects an air of poignant longing before the track comes around to close, as if at peace, back where it began.

7.5/10

‘No Fanfare’ is out now on Moshi Moshi; take a listen to it just below. You can read our past coverage of Charles Watson as part of Slow Club through this link.

 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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