Sunday, April 18, 2010
Way back in 1987, when hair metal ruled the Strip and Guns N' Roses were just about to set the world on fire with Appetite For Destruction, another band were out there making their own way, doing their own thing and attracting the audiences. Charlotte had a strong live reputation in LA but never hit the big time and could fairly be described as largely unknown - certainly outside the US and possibly, aside from the live scene afficianados, within it. 23 years on and that deserves to change. Medusa Groove is, quite simply, a phenomenal record.
Recorded largely in the late 80s and early 90s, Medusa Groove is certainly not in the commercial rock mould of the time. Right from the opener and title track we're plunged into a dark world of blues-based, guitar-led melodic metal, with very much more of a 70s vibe than the excesses of glam/sleaze or the angst laden whining of grunge. Some tracks are a little more lightweight and frothy than others - Roadhouse of Love being a bit more in the 80s Sunset Strip vein than the darkly humourous Miss Necrophilia for example, and Ocean of Love and Mercy hovers very close to the power ballad that Charlotte apparently wished to avoid - but as a whole package it works brilliantly. The changes in style aren't jarring and it always comes back to the moody, bluesy sound.
I should also add that Eric Ganz has an exceptional voice, Nick DiBacco and Vinnie Cacciotti on guitars set the album on fire, Chris Colovas' bass provides some outstanding rhythms, and all the while Eric D. Brewton keeps the pace thundering along on drums. Eönian Records have done the rock world a great service with this release. Do yourself a favour and give it a listen.