Spells + Rituals

Charming Disaster

Independent release, 2019


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


I love it when great band names align with equally fantastic music. In this case, we're talking about the  Brooklynites Charming Disaster, who have one foot firmly planted in charming gothic-folk imagery and the other traversing all sorts of other sounds that are never predictable and always creative. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Inspired by the gothic humor of Edward Gorey and Tim Burton as well as the storytelling of Raymond Chandler, Spells + Rituals surrounds themes of love, death, crime, mythology, and even the paranormal as the listen consistently stays adventurous and imaginative.

“Blacksnake” opens up this third album with rich, expressive dual gender vocals before textured pop ideas invade the setting. “Wishing Well” follows with keys and horns in a retro-fueled excursion. On A listen where no two songs resemble each other that much, “Devil May Care” brings a snappy environment in an almost country western template, while “Heart Of Brass” twinkles with a cinematic feel in its eccentric, theatric execution that's irresistible.

Late album highlights include the tense “Belladonna Melodrama,” which contains a dramatic theatrical slant, and the quirky, multifaceted “Fire Eater,” hands-down the album highlight. “Be My Bride Of Frankenstein” then uses multiple voices on a '60s influenced tune, and the listen ends on the swift “Soft Apocalypse,” where an inventive indie pop prowess with surf rock tendencies unfolds in a two minute stunner that few could replicate.

Spearheaded by multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Ellia Bisker and Jeff Morris, the duo gets help from friends on cello, violin, horns, hand claps, backing vocals, and harmonium, while engineer Don Godwin handles nearly half a dozen noisemakers, too. Collectively, their dark storytelling and vaudeville-esque approach could certainly soundtrack your next Ouija Board session or séance expereience, and easily makes Spells + Rituals one of the most unique and inviting listens of 2019.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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