This mini-album full of lo-fi pop could have easily languished in some
shoebox, providing a chromium oxide smorgasbord for a bunch of silverfish, if
it hadn't been rescued and transformed into Slugger, the debut release
from Charley. Sounding vocally not unlike a young Lou
Reed, main Chuckster Rob Lohayza takes the listener
on a twenty-five minute walk down his wild side, stumbling across some
marvelous things along the way.
Whether it's the astonishing opener, "Venus On Top Of The World", or the guitar interplay of "Sugar" (one of the best songs of the year), what comes through again and again is the quality of songwriting. Sometimes the guitars rock pretty hard, but they are generally reeled back in by the basic pop structure of the songs and the subtle hooks that lurk just below the surface.
Other highlights include "All Under You", a song that Frank Black could write if he'd put down the UFO books and turn the amp back up, and the gritty tale of an innocent's death, "Who Shot Flair Harper Down", a song which could have fallen out of Lou's guitar case during a party at the Factory in the late 60's.
Charley has opened up the door a bit withSlugger, and if they ever push it wide open with a full length release, it could be downright scary. Lo-fi fun in this hi-fi world.
Imagine Lou Reed fronting the Posies and you have a pretty good idea about Slugger, the debut CD from the Los Angeles based band Charley. The group plays tough and tuneful garage rock, and although Charley claims the "lo-fi" tag, Slugger provides plenty of sonic power when turned up properly. Another entertaining aspect of the CD is the packaging, which features those nifty cartoons from 1960's Topp's baseball cards. Slugger is an eight song release available at half the cost of a regular CD, a trend worth copying in an era when the quality of most pop CDs is stretched as thin as American League pitching.