For a slice of country music in the shade then why not indulge yourself in the twang filled noir that forms this debut album by The Whiskey Charmers from Detroit, Michigan. UK folks who enjoyed The Delines on their sorties over here last year will find merit, albeit on a less soulful scale. More similarities will lean towards Chris Isaak and The Handsome Family but more importantly The Whiskey Charmers strive to put their own mark on the sound and they have certainly done it well on this excellent inaugural release.
The duo of Carrie Shepard and Lawrence Daversa guide the band’s direction which leaves a trail of impurity free groove in its wake. Catch yourself in the headlights of their enticing tunes and total absorption is impossible to avoid. Whether it’s the glorious sultry vocals of Carrie snaking around the hazy songs that ache with magnetic appeal, or Lawrence’s driving lead guitar decorating each track, this album runs on a full tank throughout its 38 minute journey.
All nine tracks emanate from the pen of Carrie with Lawrence sharing the writing duties on ‘C Blues’ and there is no room for a filler on this compact release. This co-write is one of the prime examples of Carrie wrapping her gorgeous vocals around a sumptuous song. Each and every track shimmers in in dulled glow of a noir onset, although a chink of light appears in the final number where the band slip into pure country mode to do exactly what it says in the title of the song – the lavishly arranged and elegant ‘Waltz’. By now a little bit of steel has been added to the mix alongside the timely presence of rhythm holding court for the frequent twang driven solos. In unison, the instrumentation melts into your late night glass, but leaving far from a watered down effect.
A pair of dark, moody and gothic numbers helps get this record into the desired groove as ‘Vampire’ and ‘Straight and Narrow’ build on the haunting opener ‘Elevator’. ‘Neon Motel Room’ owns the album’s peerless lead guitar segment and makes a valid case for being the first among equals as it’s also equipped with the leading melodies. The sheer beauty and delightful gear changes within ‘Sidewinder’ run the stand out track close, but the ultimate beneficiary of this contest is the discerning listener brave enough to dip their toe into the unknown. ‘Parlor Lights’ is a wonderfully atmospheric track perfectly capturing the spirit of the record in its 5 minute execution and seamlessly merges into the higher charged subsequent number ‘Can’t Leave’.
It is impossible to resist the name analogy, so apologies for suggesting that no mixers or ice are required for this perfect late night accompaniment and that the band succeed in the mission of their titled activity. The Whiskey Charmers have perfected the art of tempting the listener with a bag of jewels and have delivered a self-titled debut album showing the darker side of genre indulgence is full of treasured riches.
Support The Whiskey Charmers via Bandcamp