Chloe Charles’ “Little Green Bud”

“Little Green Bud seems like a unique bud on the burgeoning tree of female singer/songwriters in the forest of Indie Pop-dom.” -HE

Holly Etchison

out of 10

Chloe Charles
Little Green Bud
September 19, 2010

It’s a wintry Saturday, one of those “waiting room of the world” days in February, the cold is dragging on, the trees are shivering in their barrenness, the skies are grey. Or perhaps it’s nearing fall, and there’s a whispering amongst the trees that they are going to start throwing their leaves at random. You’re planning to re-grout the tiles in the bathroom. Or try your hand at abstract expressionism. Whichever the case, it’s a great day to put on Chloe Charles’s new ep, Little Green Bud.

Chloe herself seems like a little green bud on the tree of singer/songwriters firmly rooted in the tradition of gals like (you guessed it) her fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell and Joan Armatrading; the perennial whose branches include modern acts like Kat Jones and former Illinoisemaker Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond. Orchestral maneuvers mingled with new wave-ish tempos and pitch-perfect vocals combine to create a soundtrack worthy of rumination or experimental modern dance.

The songs flow in seamless fashion; there isn’t much profundity in her lyricism, more like musings out of a personal journal, or recorded one-sided conversations, but there is satisfaction in their entire composition. “The Heavens” and “Soon on a Snowflake” present a mystical frame for the jazzy-fairy-tale-like-utterly enchanting voice of Charles, who conveys her every feeling with each note. The frenzied action of “Progression,” a tumultuous dialogue about a relationship in a bad place, switches things up a bit with digital, symphonic undertones. “The Water” hearkens Mitchell’s “The Last Time I Saw Richard,” both in moodiness and vocal range. A cello and some shakers provide the backdrop for the upbeat “Salamander Red” (you’ve taken a stroll to the park on this same Saturday, the clouds have broken for a bit of blue sky); things end on a cheerful note:

Take back what you had
Replay me your past
And sail away.

With songs progressing from pretty to pretty intense, Chloe Charles is coming atcha and won’t settle for being just background music. Rich, layered and colorful, Little Green Bud seems like a unique bloom on the burgeoning tree of female singer/songwriters in the forest of Indie Pop-dom. Somewhere, probably, Joni is smiling, and Billie Holiday rests secure her work was not in vain.