Release Date: May 27, 2013
Record label: Heavenly Recordings
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
By the time he got around to making an album that featured his songs and his voice, Charlie Boyer had been on the music scene for quite some time, mostly as a member of the group Electricity in Our Homes. The long gestation period meant that when he finally struck out on his own, he was really ready to make a splash. After forming a backing band, the Voyeurs, and hooking up with Heavenly Recordings, Boyer's first album as a leader, 2013's Clarietta, is a strong debut that shows off his songwriting skills and treble-y singing voice to great effect, but also shows that the guy can kick up quite a storm of '70s N.Y.
Charlie Boyer And The Voyeurs released their debut single ‘I Watch You’ last October. All grinding guitars, rolling organ and frantic drumming, it’s as exciting a three-minute record as you’ll have heard all last year. Guitar music dead? No new bands to get excited about? Give it a fucking rest and listen to this, will you? Saying that, one song does not a renaissance make, no matter how many riffs, Farfisa organ stabs and frantic drumbeats it may contain.
If droning organs and clipped guitars, straight from the New York lineage of the Velvet Underground, are your thing, look no further than Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs, the latest update on a familiar theme. There's a satisfying thud to their debut, with the bottom end mixed high, so it avoids the tinniness that has often cursed bands pursuing this style. There are hooks, too: the crunch into the chorus of You Haven't Got a Chance, the ascending organ phrase of I Watch You and the swirling psychedelia of Things We Be.
First, there were the Horrors, disciples of vintage vinyl who came of age in 2011 with their third album. Last year there was Toy, friends of the Horrors, whose long-haired guitars paid engaging tribute to their influences. Now along come Charlie Boyer and his Voyeurs, dedicated followers of the Velvet Underground and mid-70s New York. Their close cleaving to that sound might be derivative but rarely dull, due in some part to Edwyn Collins's shiny production.
With a debut single as buzz inducing as ‘I Watch You’, Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs were always going to have to produce a pretty special album to meet the lofty expectations laid upon them. They showed they could deliver the goods with the infectious psych-rock of follow-up single and album opener ‘Things We Be’ and, as it turns out, these tracks were just telling of the mastery Boyer et al. have had hidden up their vintage shop-embellished sleeves.Having already drawn endless comparisons to Television and Heavenly labelmates TOY – perhaps a slightly lazy relation - there is admittedly something very ‘70s New York proto-punk about ‘Clarietta’, no doubt helped along by Boyer’s self-confessed love of The Velvet Underground.
Part ’70s art-punk, part garage rock and part ’00s guitar revival-revival, Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs have clambered to the top of the six-stringer buzz-pile. Leapfrogging Swim Deep and Merchandise (who, given, are still in the midst of crafting their respective debuts), Boyer & Co. have been wowing many a muso with their consistent, nostalgic harking back, not to mention the oodles of fuzzy guitar riffs.
Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs look great. They look perfect, in fact. Not a hair on their meticulously manicured fringes out of place, and the monochrome imagery of The Velvet Underground having a kick-about with Edward Scissorhands is all present and correct. Their debut album, Clarietta does a passable impression of a good record too, but the whiff of pastiche lingers heavy over Charlie's trippy realm.