WE REVIEW THE NEW CHARLTON LANE ALBUM – MENDIP SOUL STEW VOL 1
Charlton Lane presents his new album Mendip Soul Stew, a record which blends elements of rock, funk, and dance music and in doing so creates an ambitious sound of its own.
With a vocal delivery reminisant of Mark E. Smith of The Fall and tone of Sports Team frontman, Alex Rice, the album is never short of entertainment with Charlton Lane’s vocal quirks and eccentricities are an instant ear grab with his exuberance on clear display through the 9-track LP.
Despite the enthusiasm from of the vocal delivery, occasionally the lyricism comes across a little thin, with the narrative present often feeling half-baked. However, as the record progresses, this straightforward delivery begins to warm to me, and the effortless delivery begins to enhance the raw nature of the instrumentals and bringing a punk esc delivery.
Overall, the LP has a rather dark, lo-fi mix to it which provides a great base to moments of colour and the vibrant vocal performances. I track which is a great example of this is the title track ‘Mendip Soul Stew’ which brings a refreshing addition of funky guitar and synth horns which is contrasted with a groovy baseline, resulting in an unbelievably fun track and a great conclusion to the record.
Another highlight on the album is ‘One The Wall’, an Excellently balanced track with a great vocal performance, simple yet effective guitar and great energy from the synthesised drums. Even with these moments where the synthesised drums are used to good effect, on the whole the rhythm section is what lets this record down, often feeling dull or inappropriate, namely ‘She’s Gone’ where the four on the floor dance drums, clash with the distorted riff.
The risks taken over the course of ‘Mendip Soul Stew’ are a testament to Charlton Lanes creativity and forward thinking and I applaud his desire to create and define his sound here. The lack of dynamics in the rhythm section and lyrical depth on some of the cuts let the album down, nevertheless the fun and zany track list culminates in and addictive record.