Shoegaze tends to carry with it a sense of distance and detachment. Look at the iconic driving scenes from Sophia Coppola's Lost In Translation with My Bloody Valentine making for the perfect soundtrack for the disconnection that comes from traveling and visiting a new culture. Shoegaze always seems to be dreamily staring out the window, no matter what's going on. It's a float-y take on life that some might find as escapist, but, to me, always suggests a poetic, artistic sensibility.
Charlie Doesn't Surf is a shoegaze band from the unlikely home of Anchorage, Alaska. There is nothing arctic about this three-piece whose music is as warm as a puddle of sunshine on the floor of a log cabin.
Time is indeed a flat circle with Riviera Days, as Charlie Doesn't Surf brings the dreamy, atmospheric sounds of shoegaze with the more pop-oriented sensibility of the alt-rock/college rock/grunge of the early '90s, most specifically Nirvana and The Pixies. Both album opener "Lead Me Astray" and "1995" sound like Nirvana floating on a cloud city. Charlie Doesn't Surf likes to party, but they're dreaming while they're doing it.
For me, this short album is the perfect blend of energy, catchiness and art. The echoing, flanged guitars float like albatross wings over choppy breakers of drums and bass, like silver sun breaking through the clouds, making the water sparkle like diamonds. For people who love shoegaze and indie rock, but have grown slightly tired of the completely clean, nearly antiseptic pop music that passes for indie these days, Charlie Doesn't Surf is the kind of band you get excited about. Tell your friends about. Grafitti in bathroom stalls.
Some of us like to party and some of us like to dream. And sometimes we do both, at the same time. Like The Cure says in "Charlotte Sometimes," "Sometimes I'm dreaming/while the other people dance." Charlie Doesn't Surf lets you do both; over and over again, as you obsessively hit replay on Riviera Days
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