Hey kiddos, I’m back with another album review. Actually two. But the first review is the stunning record by the British Singer-Songwriter, Charlie Barnes who is also a touring band member with Bastille. The album is named “Oceanography” and aptly named as well. The entire album surrounding my ears with lush vocals and guitar tones all made to sound or correlate with the ocean I could only guess. The cover even features a circle of abstract ocean blues in the middle of a colorless nothing.
The opening track on “Oceanography” is quite a usual one appropriately titled “Intro”. The uniqueness of “Intro” fully sets in when you realize it’s all drowned out chatter, footsteps and random commotion. So … wait?! Are we in a Coffee shop Charlie? Next, we segue into the title track which is very reminiscent of Brit-Pop in the 90s with added electro elements and sweeping guitars. I even hear some classical instrumentation in the back which add to the dramatics of the song. We next launch into “Will and Testament” which also show how much touring with Bastille has influenced the Derbyshire musician. Not only are Dan Smiths’ (Bastille lead singer) vocals featured in the background. You can truly hear here the electronic production the most. On songs “Oceanography” and “Will And Testament” Charlie’s voice which is so unique and unlike most voices out there soars the most. Songs like “Bruising” and “Ruins” showcase more of Charlie’s roots as a musician with heavy melodic elements and acoustic guitar. “One Word Answers” is a fun guitar jam that’s heavy on the drums and melody. The chorus is where it truly shines through, with the lyric; “And I only give you one-word answers”. Pay attention for that high note and the bits of tambourine throughout!
“The Departure”, “Legacy”, and “Former Glories” are all slower more peaceful moments on the album that remind me of the tide rolling in. Where Charlie’s voice is at the forefront with more introspective lyrics. I even hear a bit of very early Coldplay with a slight jazzy or Bossa Nova vibe. The mood picks up slightly with “Maria” which has a slight shuffle to it beat … And a quite lovely guitar solo. The mood picks up even more with “All I have” which has a beautiful message all packed into this song. Never give up your dreams (in this case creative ones) no matter how hard it gets. You also must check out the video which I’ll post below! We end “Oceanography” with “The Weather”. A bittersweet piano-driven ballad with the most heartfelt lyrics, that features a coffee analogy in the beginning just like album’s “Intro” does.
Link to buy and stream: Oceanography
Charlie Barnes – All I Have (Official Video) https://youtu.be/C_oSzAHLGwc
Charlie Barnes Socials: