This is a review of "In Between Happy and Me" recorded by Charlie Bath. The review was written by Rachel Gardner in 2010.
'In Between Happy and Me' is Charlie Bath's debut album; written, self produced and released under her own record label Felt Heart Records. Well, you have to hand it to the girl; she is certainly showing determination in abundance. The result is an album that is drenched in so much emotion it practically weeps, heartbreak hangs on every chorus.
Starting off with 'All of me' an upbeat pop track with a powerful chorus that has you singing along on the first listen. Charlie's voice is beautifully matched to the bounding drums and upbeat guitar with an American pop feel. The lyrics describing the insurmountable feeling of being so in love it feels like your body is shutting down. Melancholy lyrics are twisted with emotional guitars.
Next up is 'How Wrong' an atmospheric track with a seductive quality as Charlie Bath's pure voice pours over the melodies. Delicate guitar sways gently in the background, allowing Charlie's voice to be fully captivating. Breathy, angelic tones float along the verses, and during the chorus elevate into a pleading crescendo.
If I hadn't known this was a Leeds artist I would have assumed it was an American release, Charlie even has a slight American twang in her voice. The track where this is most prevalent is 'Daylight.' A country driven track; the catchy chorus blends rocky electric guitars with a country tempo, to blistering results. There is a familiarity to the rifts that means it's instantly accessible and I find myself singing along without really knowing the words.
The duet with Mathew Kilford on 'On your own' provides a welcome new dimension and their voices are very well matched together. Sparse arrangement with just a spattering of acoustic guitar and piano provide the background for a touching duet about love never really attained.
Charlie wanted this album to have 'a big heart' and she has certainly managed that. There is a brutal truth as feelings of confusion, desperation, wanting and hope are eloquently narrated. It is exclusively an album full of introspection which is where the similarity lies with artists such as Joni Mitchell, although the imagery used isn't as creative and verges on the cliche.
Throughout the album, the production is executed to an exceptional standard. The songs are really well crafted, with text book song writing and a high standard of musicianship. Each song taken on its own is emotive, admirably crafted, interesting and introspective. As an album the theme gets slightly repetitive and the familiarity becomes slightly stale. It would elevate the album up a level if there was a little more poetry in the lyrics and creativity in the arrangements. As a debut album it is a really great achievement and considering the amount of work that must have been put in, Charlie Bath will be one to watch out for in the future.