In the world of music, especially music journalism, you always long for something different, something that defies your expectations and really makes you step back and go “hmm… I never would have expected to like this!” Enter the weird, wild and wonderful world of West Jordan, UT’s Charlatan. Since discovering them, seeing their live show (which is an entirely different beast of its own) and diving deeper into what they do… I’ve dubbed them the Kings of Obscurity. Signed to Revival Recordings last year (and later acquired by Defiled Management), they quickly became one of my favorite bands on the roster for far more reasons than one. They’re unafraid to be themselves, they’re unapologetic and they’re just so damn fun to listen to, watch or be around! My first taste of this band came through their debut, Revival Recordings single “Bone Dance,” which immediately showcased the bizarre nature of the band. This track offered a pop-infused, fast-paced metal track that gets you moving and will get stuck in your head… guaranteed. Immediately after finishing my first listen of this track, I was hooked and I hungered for more. That’s why, when their debut album Remarkable was finally announced… I knew I’d be purchasing it.
Probably one of the most intriguing things about this band is that EVERY SINGLE TRACK that they write has something different to offer. I’m not talking about lyrically or on a general spectrum… I mean that every track they’ve ever put out, be it their covers, their debut EP Nothing to Gain or the 10 tracks you’ll find on Remarkable… no two tracks are the same. The first track released from the album, “The Sick Nasty,” for example is fast-paced but insanely catchy. The video sees the band in a dark-lit room, flashing lights that see each member quickly switching positions and all singing the lyrics, rather than just vocalist Grey Sorenson. The track, seemingly, plays on the primal nature of the human race and how, even though sex may be all that is desired, we have the fatal flaw of being able to develop feelings. The first song I found myself singing along to, once I received the album, was “Bag of Tricks” because it’s just so, incredibly catchy. It plays on how alluring the desire to be famous is, to feel wanted and be a part of something bigger than yourself. It also serves as a reminder that being “different” is the best thing in the world. Normalcy is overrated, don’t break your back to impress others… break your back to impress yourself. In the end, the only opinion that matters is your own.
“Can’t Destroy Her” was probably one of my favorite songs to watch these guys perform live. In the verses, it’s so raw and explosive and it really has the potential to make a crowd move. If you want something that has more of an overall pop vibe to it, well… they’ve got you covered with “Instant Cult Classic.” There’s a few really heavy parts to it but, especially in the beginning, it has a radio-ready vibe to it. In the same vein, if you’re looking for something more “emo,” they’ve got you covered with their latest single “China.” Grey took the most ridiculously cliche emo lyrics and slapped it together in a song, along with a video which you can view below. Even as cheesy as the premise is… you won’t find yourself disappointed. The album wraps itself up in a techno-infused, pop/rock ball with the title track “Remarkable.” As the lyrics explain, “we were saving the best part for the end.” There’s some gang-chanted vocals, a really raunchy (but funny) reference to sodomy and just a feel-good vibe to this track.
It’s hard to pin down a way to put this album into words, other than to say that the title was appropriately chosen. For better or worse, Remarkable is one of the most diverse, strange and intriguing albums you’ll ever hear. Bar-none. It has earned a clear spot in my top 5 albums of the year so far and, unless something stranger comes along… I don’t see it leaving that spot. Remarkable is out this Friday on Revival Recordings, so be sure to drop your money on a pre-order and look for the physical copies (with alternate artwork) coming soon! Take a walk on the weird side and become part of the Charlacult!
“China” (Official Music Video)
“The Sick Nasty” (Official Music Video)
Grey Sorenson – Vocals
Austin Heath – Guitar
Tyler Craig – Drums