Fatal Charm

Endangered Species

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One of the most unjustly overlooked albums of mid-'80s Britain, Endangered Species prefaces Paul Arnell and Sarah Simmonds' future in techno sensation State of Grace with ten slices of nagging melody, insistent hook, lush symphonics, and wide-screen radio benders that remain as seductive today as they ever were in their prime. All three of the band's Carrere label singles to date were included -- that's the tortured guitars and breakneck percussives of "You Know (You'll Never Believe)," the hauntingly gorgeous "Summer Spies," and a remixed version of the horn-laden "King of Comedy." There, and across the best of the rest, Fatal Charm revel amid a musical intent that rides high on dramatic flourishes and ecstatic accents, mapping out poles that slide effortlessly into that lush line of descent that reaches from the Beach Boys to Saint Etienne. Simmonds' vocal is nothing short of a warm caress -- "Flashes in the Night" and the closing "Bye Bye" are nothing short of torch song lullabies -- while Arnell's guitar and keyboards have an orchestral edge that adds the Psychedelic Furs to the list of Fatal Charm's most-plausible influences. But it is a short list -- rather, Fatal Charm would appear to fall into that select company of groups about whom one can safely say, "not many people heard them -- but everyone who did went and formed their own band."