Self release [Release date 22.05.15]
Eric Charles Band’s ‘2015 Exclusive Limited Release’ is a high energy, swaggering album full of confident songs that have been road tested before the band channeled their energy into this 12 track album.
The songs are built round Canadian Charles’s radio friendly poppy vocals and Nick Maldonado’s locker full of licks, whilst the rest of the band pour themselves into a pop-rock mould, not a million miles away from The Police style commercial crossover.
The result is a radio friendly pop rock album that bristles with melodies, bursts with guitars breaks and aims big with some potent hooks, but it falls just tad short on real substance.
If there’s a problem it’s simply that songs like ‘Do It Again’ very familiar, even if they do offer Eric real crossover potential.
The CD opens with a brace of their best efforts, as the self explanatory ‘Can You Feel It’, succinctly sets out their style, while ‘I Never Did You Wrong’ is a catchy, melodic pop rock song full of jangling guitars, Luka Collins’s lovely piano fills and superbly enunciated lyrics from Eric, over some fine bv’s.
On ‘The Chameleon’ his vocals come close to Michael Stipe, as the guitars jangle R.E.M. style, to give the album a late 80’s feel.
They break new ground on the mid-number rap of ‘You Read’, which serves to bring variety and dynamics to both the sing and album, but might not appeal to rock fans. That said, as with much of their material, the song flows eloquently into its hook.
‘In For The Ride’ was their first single and is the template for their pop rock crossover style, though it’s not as strong as ‘Can You Feel it’.
By the time of ‘Freak Out’ they are in danger overloading the album with too much of the same, as interwoven jangling guitars are surely best used sparingly rather than as a constant.
The best tracks such as ‘Time To Move On’ are best heard on there own rather than in album format, so the jaunty pop can leap out and hit us with maximum impact.
Eric’s vocal on the intro of ‘Where Did The Years Go’ sounds like Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys, which merely serves to highlight Eric Charles Band’s pop influences, as layered guitars and keyboard part support his wry lyrical input: “Yeah you can text me on your new Y phone”.
The subtly built pop-rock ballad ‘Into You’ also impresses, with a big production that highlight’s Eric’s uplifting lyrics, before he achieves closure on the booming ‘Come Back To Life’, a track that captures all the bands essential elements of guitar driven, pop-rock grandeur, on an album that is the art of song craft in the making. ***½
Review by Pete Feenstra
Pete Feenstra presents his Rock & Blues Show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, and “The Pete Feenstra Feature” on Sundays at 19:00
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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 4 July 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 6 July 2021.
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