Charlie Big Time - Dishevelled Revellers EP

matinée 082  /  June 2012
Charlie Big Time - Dishevelled Revellers EP
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Charlie Big Time - Dishevelled Revellers EP

matinée 082  /  June 2012

Splendid Matinée debut from admired English band Charlie Big Time! Originally a duo of Matthew Pendlebury and Chris Tiplady, the band released its debut EP on Cloudberry Records in 2007 followed by an album on Series Two and appearances on several indie compilations. More recently, the two met former Aberdeen and Trembling Blue Stars vocalist Beth Arzy and invited her to the north of England to add some vocal magic to their latest creations.

The superb ‘Dishevelled Revellers’ is a jaunty tune with jangling guitars, keyboards, and a waltzing chorus, while ‘The Liberation of Love’ is a mesmerizing mid-tempo jewel with dual vocals, more keyboards, and absolutely magnificent harmonies. ‘Real Estate’ features an incredibly catchy chorus, ace harmonies, and a classic guitar pop sound that recalls early Creation Records favorites, and ‘Passion and Headaches’ is a melodic dual vocal masterpiece that brings the EP to an extraordinary conclusion.

The EP has a timeless English indie sound with Beth’s lovely harmonies adding the perfect dose of California sunshine so it swings in all the right places. Previous releases received plenty of comparisons to The Smiths but these songs have a more modern approach and fans of Matinée favorites Lovejoy or Trembling Blue Stars and Aberdeen will certainly be delighted. An exceptional EP from another bright addition to the Matinée roster.

  1. Dishevelled Revellers
  2. The Liberation of Love
  3. Real Estate
  4. Passion and Headaches


If you're on the hunt for a decent indie/pop band then searching the rosters of certain labels can often be a trustworthy route to take. Finding a group that have been under the reliable guardianship of both Cloudberry Records and Matinée Recordings is almost a fail-safe indicator that the discernible indie fan is in for a treat. On new EP 'Dishevelled Revellers' the English band have also recruited Trembling Blue Stars vocalist Beth Arzy to provide an extra spark to Charlie Big Time's very British sounding guitar-pop tunes. Theirs is a more relaxed and less sugary sound than you might expect, high on melody and with its foundations lying in erstwhile heroes The Smiths as well as others from that era such as The Housemartins. Because these two bands have rarely slipped out of fashion and have been aped and referenced endlessly since their heyday, the resulting songs are timeless and, naturally, include the odd witty lyric, such as the title-track's "bigger than a fat lady's dinner plate" line. Others who reference this era and genre often go hell for leather to produce exuberant and pacey, high-tempo pop. Charlie Big Time's sound is more restrained, swerving as close to Galaxie 500 as to C86. The contemplative 'The Liberation Of Love' could just about disguise itself as a Sundays track. These are songs that may not fizz enough to catapult them into indiepop stardom, but there's more than enough here to satisfy the palate of connoisseurs of delicate, jangly guitars and bleary-eyed sunshine pop.   --The Sound of Confusion
Although we're conscious that a number of our posts this year have paid tribute to decorated and doughty scene veterans, rather than celebrated a newer wave of pop shakers and heartbreakers, there are a number of boxfresh bands whom we fully intend to big up over the coming months, and Bolton's Charlie Big Time are the first of those. Mind you, they're not complete ingénus: they've already achieved the "double" of recording for both Cloudberry and Matinée (even if Bart & Friends just got there first, what with Cloudberry 708 and this one). The title song is, we think, the pick of the four here. It plunges straight into an unapologetically breezy sax-keyboard hook (!) before light-touch guitar trills and ornate strum-patterns team up to flank an earnest, fairly understated male vocal. As dextrous worldplay tangles with the jauntiness of said guitars, we're almost in the territory of the Sundays (or even of the Siddeleys, whose hearty "best of" compilation is yet another Matinée catalogue highlight). Then, just as the verse is gliding along so airily that it risks floating away into the ether entirely, the song is tethered by an extra injection of guitar that drives the killer chorus forwards, allowing CBT deliver a line like "I confess / my life's a mess" with an impish joy that rather belies its sentiment. So, yes, "Dishevelled Revellers" is ace: it's about carousing, about friendship, about being glad you'd gone out, about being sad you'd gone out, about scuffles on the dancefloor and high-jinks on the fire escape, about being haggard, ragged and bedraggled, about life's rich tapestry viewed through the prism of nights spent out on the tiles. Probably. Um, we'd better turn to the rest of the EP. The languorous "The Liberation Of Love", with its blue-eyed "indie soul" feel, will be the highlight for many. Despite a simple and nagging guitar melody which anchors things confidently, the pace seems a little saturnine and tentative - as if they're frightened to speed things up, for fear of dislocating the carefully-struck mood of the piece - but then Beth Arzy's vocals drift exquisitely into view (yes, for it is she, of Aberdeen and Trembling Blue Stars fame) and lift the song towards a stately refrain of no little beauty. Beth's extra vocal also works its magic on the remaining tracks "Real Estate" (the chorus of which features a surprisingly but reassuringly old-school guitar hook) and the elegant and moving "Passion and Headaches", in relation to which we would say any Lovejoy comparisons are best deployed. On the evidence of their Matinée début, Charlie Big Time nestle most neatly within the grand tradition of grown-up indie pop which stretches from the early Railway Children, say, right through to the likes of the Cavalcade. But there are other things going on here, too. The more swashbuckling moments suggest shyly danceable, starshy post-Orange Juice pop; the ambition of the songwriting recalls the eyes-on-the-prize genius of former Sarah stalwarts Blueboy; their setting of lyrical pearls within winning guitar rhythms harks back to the Smiths, or at least to the long line of bands - from Bradford to Gene - that 'succeeded' them. All this, of course, is ample to ensure that "Dishevelled Revellers" barges Charlie Big Time onto our 'watch list'. If there's any justice in the world, they'll be bothering our ears with new material soon.   --In Love With These Times In Spite Of These Times
Do you remember those times where you used to lock yourself away for hours and hours, with just your records and your record player in front of you? Maybe you might've been making a tape for someone you had your eye on at school, or maybe you just didn't want to go outside and have to deal with the real world. I remember those times when I listen to the Charlie Big Time's debut ep for Matinée 'Dishevelled Revellers'. In the days of mp3 files being emailed everywhere and clogging up your laptop, then it's easy to forget that records used to be an artefact - an object to be loved and admired. Something to look at and hug (come on, we all did it). 'Dishevelled Revellers' is such a record, and it makes me long for the days when I had days on end to just sit and listen to record after record after record... Enough of the romance - here's the science bit: Charlie Big Time are never going to find themselves breaking down any barriers musically, but when they make such gorgeously gliding melancholia like this, well, I couldn't care less. The title track here tells of the hideous aftermath of those endless nights out where, all of sudden, you're back home, and reality bites. Charlie Big Time salute this heroes of the night during three or so minutes of the most beautiful guitar pop. "My life's a mess, my Sunday best' they sing... 'The Liberation of Love' recalls both underated Sarah types Harvest Ministers and The Smiths' more tranquil, early moments, whilst 'Real Estate' and 'Passion and Headaches' end this whole magnificently downbeat package of songs on a deliciously downbeat note. Charlie Big Time have had songs out of Cloudberry and Series Two over the last couple of years, during which time I've been a bit busy. That doesn't stop me being miffed with myself that I've missed out on two years of the most beautiful pop music. Best start catching up now.   --A Layer of Chips
Britain has long had a history of crafting glowing guitar pop, though the more brash bands abroad have garnered more attention. That’s probably a good thing, with bands like Charlie Big Time quietly making their way to our ears. The group’s newest EP, Dishevelled Revellers is brief, but for those of you unfamiliar with the band it’s the perfect introduction to the group, now a proper trio. The title track begins the four song affair, beginning casually for the most part. It’s a quieted pop approach allowing listeners to get a full grip on the inherent harmonies present within the track, but that changes at the one minute mark. A chorus erupts with a more distorted guitar sound, giving a heavier touch to the softer melody working beneath the tune. It’s a familiar song, sonically speaking, but one that speaks volumes to the craftsmanship of Charlie Big Time. You’ll find that the lead single “The Liberation of Love” provides the perfect “pleased to meet you” moment with the band’s newest member, Beth Arzy. Her effortlessly gentle voice provides the perfect juxtaposition to the deeper male vocal role, and gives a different level to the slower track. There’s’ a wandering jangling guitar noodling its way about the track, which is one of the reasons I find Dishevelled Revellers so enjoyable; it’s not here to beat you over the head with brilliant pop, only here to let you sit back and enjoy incredible songwriting. Personally, I immediately fell in love with “Real Estate” from the moment that guitar line comes in. Strummed guitars are met with solid vocals and various other textures that demonstrate the creativity of the group–it even includes some light horn flourishes. Beth’s here again, but her voice is slightly understated, turning it into more of an instrument of lushness, rather than a counterpoint. The subject matter seems fairly dark, but you’d never really know by the emotional tug you’ll get when listening to the track, happily floating away with the tune in your heart. Then it all comes to an end with sullen “Passion and Headaches,” the fourth and final track here. It seems like the perfect song for someone living on the British Isles, or even the Northwestern US. I find that there’s a bit of a cold haze that floats about the casual track; I picture the group crafting the song on their porch as the rain comes down. But, like all great pop, you cannot help but to feel a bit of an uplifting aura surrounding the track, much as you’ll find on the whole Dishevelled Revellers EP. Charlie Big Time have managed to quickly burst into the scene of great pop songwriting, and hopefully we’ll get to hear more from them soon.   --Austin Town Hall
Dishevelled Revellers has the sound, feel, and atmosphere of a lost Britpop classic. Elements of new wave, Americana, and shoegaze are artfully mixed together to create something that feels slightly outdated but sounds absolutely wonderful. There are guitars that hum and jangle, a vocalist that croons and makes an effort to emote, and a rock-solid rhythm section. There’s no flash and a wealth of substance. Big Star, The Smiths, and Blur are immediately brought to mind with the title track and those echoes are sustained throughout the remaining three tracks, each only heightening the sense of melancholy the EP is cloaked in. “Real Estate” picks the pace up slightly before the final track and proves the band’s range before Dishevelled Revellers culminates with “Passion and Headaches”, a track that neatly ties the EP up by fully embodying its mood. Revellers proves that the band’s ready for the long haul.   --Pop Matters
I've learned several things in blogging about music this year, and one of them is to pay attention when Matinée Recordings advises me of a new release. In this case, the album is Dishevelled Revellers—four tracks of superb guitar pop from Bolton, UK's Charlie Big Time. This is the kind of early Creation Records style pop that, for some of us, never goes out of fashion; particularly when it is this well done. But when an EP leads off with my new favorite song, I know I'll give the entire EP a chance. Listen for the vocal hook in the chorus just past the one-minute mark—I think you'll agree that it is high quality, and the sort of thing that is responsible for the early demise of many innocent "replay" buttons. Chris Tiplady and Matt Pendlebury released the band's first EP on Cloudberry Records in 2007. In the intervening years they released an LP and placed songs on some indie compilations. For Dishevelled Revellers, Chris and Matt invited Beth Arzy of Aberdeen and Trembling Blue Stars fame to add her vocal abilities to the group. The wonderful result is top-flight songwriting and polished performances, with Beth providing a bit of sunshine to the lightly melancholic arrangements. Dishevelled Revellers is released today, and I can only assume that this post has convinced you that the EP is worth your time and money.   --When You Motor Away
Charlie Big Time hail from Bolton, hardly renown for its fey indie band heritage, but the fact that this release is coming out on Matinée Records is a cast iron guarantee that the ‘Dishevelled Revellers’ EP will be well worth a listen. I am not disappointed as the title track is a wonderful mix of the Go-Betweens and early Smiths, while newest recruit and former Trembling Blue Stars vocalist, Beth Arzy, helps turn ‘The Liberation of Love’ into a swirling laid-back number very much in the mold of the Pale Saints' ‘Kinky Love’. The remaining two tracks could easily have taken the lead on the EP, with ‘Real Estate’ bringing to mind the underrated Hit Parade, and ‘Passion and Headaches’ again benefiting from Beth's dreamy vocals. Not much more to say really. Charlie Big Time have finally put Bolton on the indie-pop map and Matinée Records have added another ace band to their impressive catalogue.   --Pennyblack Magazine
Charlie Big Time is yet another excellent British band releasing on fab US label Matinée – four tracks of classic jangly and summery indiepop. This Bolton duo - on this EP reinforced by Beth Arzy (Aberdeen, Trembling Blue Stars) – follows the great tradition of The Smiths, The Love Parade, Trash Can Sinatras, Lovejoy, The Cavalcade… just a few ace bands that springs to mind when listening to “Dishevelled Revellers EP”. Highly recommended!   --Fraction Discs
New Release of the Week!   --Indie Pop Saved My Life
Long have I supported Jimmy and his crew over at Matinée Recordings. Somehow they’re able to scour the world and find some of the most creative and pleasurable pop music, and this time they’ve landed on UK band Charlie Big Time. While the band was a duo early on, they’ve added Beth Arzy of Trembling Blue Stars to the fold, and her presence is best exemplified on this track from the group’s new EP, Dishevelled Revellers. The EP is currently available over at Matinée’s shop, and you’ll find all sorts of pop goodness—which is just par for the course from the label–and the band to boot!   --Austin Town Hall
Eso de que el verano sea una época en la que no se trabaja o en la que, por ejemplo, no surjan novedades discográficas, es algo absolutamente incorrecto. En esta época, desde luego, el ritmo de novedades disminuye, pero para nada dejan de aparecer buenos discos. Matinée Recordings es una de las encargadas de recordarnos que en verano también podemos escuchar buena música, y para ello ha preparado una serie de Ep´s de contenido eminentemente suave que pueden hacer las delicias de los oídos acostumbrados a su particular sello y forma de entender la música. Charlie Big Time es un trío que comenzó su andadura como dúo. Son Matthew Pendlebury, Beth Arzy y Chris Tiplady. Anteriormente habían formado parte de Aberdeen y Trembling Blue Stars. Provienen de Bolton, Inglaterra, y curiosamente, en un pasado habían editado material con otra discográfica conocida en TJB: Series Two Records, cuando aún eran un dúo. Su música, como decía, responde a ese característico “patrón” marca de la casa: Pop ciertamente delicado, guitarras jangle, dulces y algo distorsionadas; pasión por la melodía y un cierto regusto nostálgico emparentable con las huestes Morriseyanas. Este Dishevelled revellers es su primera referencia para Matinée y seguro que muchos de vosotros, oyendo estos cuatro temas estaréis clamando por un trabajo más extenso.   --The Janglebox
Contrairement à ce qu'a pu affirmer Madonna, le temps passe beaucoup trop vite. Si bien qu'en juin dernier, nous ne l'avons même pas pris pour vous évoquer la parution de Dishevelled Revellers, dernier EP en date de Charlie Big Time. Une fois de plus, - nous vous promettons qu'il n'existe aucun copinage - nous devons cette excellente sortie à Matinée Recordings. Après tout, nous n'y pouvons rien si le label californien réalise un sans faute ! Charlie Big Time, c'est la réunion de Matthew Pendlebury et Chris Tiplady. Le duo comptait déjà à son actif un très joli EP paru chez Cloudberry en 2007 auquel s'est ajouté un album sur le label Series Two (ndlr: ce label du Nebraska, tenu par un passionné d'indie-pop, ne mérite pas la confidentialité qui l'entoure !). Pour notre plus grande joie, et afin de parfaire ce Dishevelled Revellers, Charlie Big Time s'est adjoint les services de l'illustre Beth Arzy. En effet, la chanteuse est connue pour avoir figuré au sein de glorieuses formations pop telles qu'Aberdeen ou Trembling Blue Stars. Le morceau que nous vous proposons aujourd'hui en téléchargement s'intitule Liberation Of Love. Cette ballade langoureuse aux arpèges magiques ne manque pas de nous évoquer les envolées oniriques de Brighter.   --Tweendie
junge junge, märz 2009 war es, da berichtete ich erstmals über charlie big time. damals hatten die beiden protagonisten chris tiplady und matt pendlebury gerade ihr erstes album auf series two records herausgebracht. unterstützt wurden sie vornehmlich bei liveaktionen durch einen basser und einen drummer. bis auf eine single auf cloudberry records und einige samplerbeiträge war das alles, was man bis dato von den briten vernehmen durfte. doch die jüngere vergangenheit hält etwas mehr info und vor allem einen tonträger bereit. matthew und chris trafen auf beth arzy, bekannt für ihre vokalarbeit bei aberdeen und trembling blue stars, und lockten sie in ihr lineup. im ergebnis dürfen wir nun von einer neuen ep berichten. "dishvelled revellers" heißt das stück, welches am 26. juni auf matinée recordings erschien. der titeltrack hat einen saumseligen touch und lebt doch vom kehligen gesang pendleburys. die schwere note wird durch die griffig wirkenden gitarren im hintergrund unterstrichen. dass die nummer dennoch luftig bleibt, liegt vermutlich an den keyboardströmen, an der weichherzigen melodie. "the liberation of love" ist an lieblichkeit kaum zu übertreffen, beth arzys gesang addiert sich wie eine große sonnenblume im meer von frühblühern. ein schleicher, ein ohrschmeichler, "ein juwel", wie das label richtig schreibt. "real estate" zeigt sich mutiger, gar etwas flotter, an einer einträglichen melodie entlang singen in eintracht pendlebury und arzy, begleitet von schraffierten gitarren und einem zirkulierenden keyboard. "passion and headaches" setzt erneut auf den duettgesang der beiden und zeigt sich zierend und zögernd. der beat shuffelt lose, die e-gitarre punktet mit glitzernden momenten, das steife der performance wird aufgehoben, da sich die stimmen in der höhe hilfe suchen. etwas zeitloses liegt dieser musik inne. ein hohes maß an gefühl, oft genug nah am kitsch schrammend, jedoch nie scheiternd. die hinzunahme des weiblichen parts hat sich allemal bezahlt gemacht. gratulation an charlie big time für diese gelungene (wieder-) auferstehung.   --Das Klienicum
Ανέκαθεν η μουσική των Charlie Big Time ήταν η γλυκιά ποπ που αγαπάω, μου θύμιζε Smiths, Sarah, τα όμορφα συγκροτήματα της Ωκεανίας…Το ίδιο συμβαίνει και με το νέο τους ep, η προσθήκη της Beth Arzy (πρώην Aberdeen, Trebling Blue Stars) απλά δίνει μια πιο γλυκιά χροιά στον ήχο τους.Ότι πρέπει για να χαλαρώσουμε και να ταξιδέψουμε.   --Just Name It Laika