released June 21, 2016
Marcus Palmer - vocals / tambourine
Matt Neale - Guitar
John Malone - Guitar
Richard Farnell - Bass
Chris Ridley - Drums
Review from Bliss Aquamarine:-
THE SUNCHARMS s/t CD (Cloudberry)
Out now on Cloudberry Records' Cloudberry Cake Kitchen series of reissued/archival recordings is this 14-song compilation from early 1990s Sheffield band The Suncharms. All the songs from their two EPs on Wilde Club Records, which I bought back in the 90s, are here along with six demo tracks which are new to me. The album is nicely packaged with sleeve notes on the history of the band, and memorabilia pictures including a fanzine that featured them alongside loads of other familiar names from the DIY indiepop scene of the time, such as Librarian, The Marigolds, The Bedflowers, The Vicarage Garden, etc, and a music press cutting in which The Suncharms' self-titled EP was reviewed alongside The Sea Urchins' Please Don't Cry, the first record I ever heard from The Sea Urchins, who were soon to become my very favourite band. This is all very nostalgic and meaningful stuff for me, dating as it does from the exact time that I was discovering the world of indiepop.
The EP tracks are characterised by a juxtaposition of gentle melodies and hushed vocals with relentlessly noisy guitars, producing an overall sound that bridges the gap between the noisier end of indiepop and shoegaze. Occasionally I hear aspects of The Suncharms' sound that may even appeal to the psychedelic crowd, such as how Reflections begins and ends with some beautifully atmospheric moments with an almost psych-folk quality, and Time Will Tell includes some drawn-out, fuzzy guitar work that is unusually rockish for a band who were, and continue to be, embraced by the indiepop scene, a musical community with a general reputation for looking askance at such things as guitar solos. The Suncharms weren't interested in playing by the rules of any specific scene, they just played the music they enjoyed, a 'be yourself' attitude that is deserving of applause.
On the whole however, The Suncharms' music isn't particularly psychedelic or rock, much less folk. One I See is a fine slice of buzzsaw pop that would have fitted right in on the Subway label, combined with lashings of swirling wah-wah. There are some really great noisepop songs here like Tranquil Day and Walk Away, whilst She Feels is a full-on shoegaze track that should quite frankly have made The Suncharms just as popular as all the big names from that scene, and Spaceship has a good balance of fuzzy dreampop haze and powerpop oomph. Most of the demos show a different side to The Suncharms' sound, tending towards being janglier, less shoegazey, and falling more squarely into the indiepop category. Sort it Out is fantastic late 80s/early 90s jangly indiepop, the kind that always brings a smile to my face. Verge of Tears is a catchy indiepop song about a sensitive and emotional man, set to a pairing of jangle and crunchy, fuzzy noise. Into the Sun is brilliant tuneful noisepop in the best late 80s/early 90s style. On Reflection is introspective and delicate indiepop interspersed with a wall of swirling noise that hints at the shoegaze sound that would be developed further on their vinyl EPs.
Whether you're into jangly or noisy indiepop or shoegaze, this album is an absolute must. It's also great to know that The Suncharms have reformed and are currently writing and rehearsing new material. Let's hope there will be more new releases from them soon! In the meantime, the compilation album can be obtained from www.cloudberryrecords.com
. If you're in the UK, Vinyl Exchange has a limited number of copies in stock.
Review from Ultrablissfulnoise:-