Charlottefield How Long Are You Staying

[FatCat; 2005]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: post-punk, experimental punk
Others: The Fall, Modest Mouse, The Birthday Party

How Long Are You Staying opens with Thomas House, the singer, throwing a hissy fit -- a tirade -- seemingly unbeknownst to the musicians behind him. He almost sounds buried, in a rather shallow pit, with the dirt and dust dancing across the top of his grave, certain notes breaking the wooden barrier of the coffin top. Charlottefield, this four-piece out of the UK, they leave air to separate everything. Nothing is submerged too deeply. The vocals are behind the air of the drums, the bass is clear -- sometimes bouncy, sometimes softly punishing -- and the guitar never overdoes the job. Instruments are played sparingly, conservatively, though with reckless abandon to keep things menacing. Long droughts of voice are suddenly interrupted by panicked, suffering yelps. They reserve the right to scatter off onto tangents, with guitar lines stringing on perplexedly for large portions of time. It's always admirable when a band says what's needed to be said, packs it in, and moves right along. Charlottefield are not excessive. They squeal to the exits on the final track, "Weevils," like some 21st century case of the boll weevil seeking some sort of revenge on your invaluable crops.

1. Nine Trails
2. A > B
3. Again
4. Clipper
5. How Long
6. The Eleventh Day
7. Paper Dart
8. Weevils