Almost Charlie

The Plural of Yes

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In a world where any number of polite indie bands are desperately trying to be the new version of the Beach Boys or Crosby, Stills & Nash, it's almost sweet to see one band aim at simply being the Beatles, or at least a refracted version of the Fab Four via a sunny, low-key, and easygoing power pop lens. Almost Charlie had been plying their trade for a bit before the release of The Plural of Yes, and it's simultaneously an enjoyable little trifle and something that might make most people want to search out the acts that clearly served as an inspiration -- besides the Beatles, there are inevitable echoes of Big Star, later XTC, Cheap Trick, T. Rex, the Smiths -- it's almost a greatest hits of elegantly hooky and wistful guitar pop in general. Dirk Homuth's very John Lennon-touched vocals set the overall tone to start with, half-confessional and half-soft pep -- there's no throat-shredding here, and even at its most peppy, as with "The Monster and Frankenstein" he keeps to an understated energy level. Instead soft touches of strings and softly cascading guitar melodies as on "For the Both of Us" lead the way throughout. Perhaps the strongest statement of intent comes with the sitar turn on "The World Is Full of Supermen" -- if it's not "Norwegian Wood" it's definitely doing its best to call it to mind.

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