Charlot Webster - Self-Titled
Owain Paciuszko 27/02/2009
From the hand-sewn and beautifully inked packaging with a little travel tag down to the music contained on the CD itself this EP can be summed up in one word; gorgeous.
Opening with a Parisian-sound that contrasts neatly with the soft accent of Charlot Webster's vocal on You Only Live Twice, the simple charm of her voice is what catches the ear and holds the attention. But this is an artist who doesn't simply want to show off her range, the construction of the songs is just as careful and considered and the choice of backing vocals and instrumentation all coalesce into a perfect little nugget of romantic pop. The next track Promised Me Gold moves into Cat Power territory with a more jazzy slant, but rather than falling under the shadow of that comparison this track can proudly sit alongside it.
Change is one of the most achingly swoonsome moments on the record, with beautiful string arrangments over water droplet-like plucking and Webster's vocal slow and exotic. It's followed by the doo-wop of Dreamboat where Webster turns on the innocence as the backing vocals land somewhere between Brian Wilson and Little Shop of Horrors, with a ukelele jangling happily. It's a neat counterpoint to the previous track that milked the tear ducts whilst this pulls the heart-strings.
The last track Mister Smith is the weakest of the bunch, a piano-led ballad that still stands proud thanks to Webster's exquisite voice and her skill with composition and arrangment. But, above all, this is a truly wonderful record that showcases an artist who deserves recognition up alongside the other current contenders for the (not just female) singer-songwriter throne.