CD Review

Charlotte’s Shadow – “Hush”

By Marcus Pan

HushCharlotte’s Shadow are a duo that began in Dublin. Made up of J. Catala and A. Avalos, Hush gives us a classic example of trying to be more than it is. In attempts to sound like more than a duo, Catala has taken up the duties of vocals, guitars, keyboards and programming while Avalos plays bass. The problem with Catala doing all four things is apparent – none of the four are done with anything beyond an amateurish knowledge rather than choosing one to excel in.

All songs have synth/key sequences that do not do much besides annoy by stealing any semblance of power from the guitars of the music and dispersing it like a heat sink. They all mostly remain stock, unchanging, boring and cliche'd through the length of Hush. A few exceptions, like the piano at the end of Hush, tries to save the song from utter failure, but is a bit too little too late.

Hush also shows some heavier guitar movements that start out well, but the vocals are mushy and barely discernible as if they've been processed through a half dozen echo machines. Since it's already whiny, it comes out like a million tormented souls with nothing interesting to say - very "gothic," to the point of cliché. The guitar solo here is a bit boring, and the bass breakdown is barely high school level in its simplicity.

The keyboards have a Mary Had a Little Lamb simplicity. Four chords throughout, you can map them in your head without trying much. Take Me Away comes off sounding like something Andrew Eldritch wrote when he was ten years old - much whinier and lacking the power that comes with maturity. How Can I Tell You gets even more boorish with vocals that barely acknowledge the existence of the surrounding instruments. The guitar solo, for the few moments it’s there, is just bad.

There’s a lot of work that Charlotte’s Shadow will need to do to move past the amateurism they show me here on Hush. Catala has to pick something to excel at – and then practice a lot – in order to be taken seriously. The keyboards have to be a bit less stock, maybe change occasionally, and stop playing the same things over and over like a four line BASIC GOTO loop. I’m terribly unimpressed with this.

Contact Information:
Charlotte’s Shadow
Post: C/ Laguna, 5, 28942 Fuenlabrada (Madrid), Spain