- The dark and dingy blues
- The evolution of Charlotte's songwriting
- The fact her music is made for vinyl
- We wanted MORE new music
Shelter, by far and large, is a commodified necessity in the twenty-first century. It is a glorified product to be consumed, and to be decorated, and to be created into a curation of one’s subconscious identity. Shelter, at its basic form, is a protective blanket from which the citizens of the world must strive for in order to survive. If you’re stranded on a desert island, one of the first things you’d do, if your common sense was still intact of course, would be to build some sort of shelter if immediate rescue wasn’t an obvious option.
For Charlotte Carpenter, a singer-songwriter with a bluesy edge wise beyond her youthful years, shelter isn’t the warmly-lit Ikea-furnished Living Room, shelter is a double-edged sword which acts almost person-like as something which protects us from the dark, yet the dark enveloping us is that of the music Carpenter wields like a sorceress.
Returning with a four-track EP entitled Shelter, Charlotte Carpenter couples previous releases Fire and Lately with two evolutionary tracks, the titular Shelter, and the formidable ‘Hey Mr. Cowboy.’ Whilst the latter half of the record, the one in which the previous releases sit, is a lighter touch of song-writing in the sense of lyrical and musical substance, the first half is a comprehensively dark underworld of seedy guitar-led blues riddled with chamberlain sections and the sinking feeling you’re lost somewhere in a James Bond montage.
‘Shelter’, as a track, is at this moment in time the definitive Charlotte Carpenter song, the one in which provides the platform for her to progress to heights yet unreached, the steps of the ladder undiscovered and locked away, ready to be discovered and unlocked. It’s rhythmic riffing rides you through the scene, Carpenter’s honey-like vocals drawing you in and narrating you through the web she weaves. Even if the concept of shelter, traditionally, is to protect you, Carpenter constantly drags you back away from it.
‘Hey Mr. Cowboy’ repeats the formula with reward, crafting a rhythmic blend of bluesy guitar-addled country that croons as much as it swoons, tackling lyrics of love, loss, and lust in yet another comprehensive weaving of darkness.
When something is so good you’re left listening to it on repeat over and over and over till your neighbours are knocking down your door asking for something different, you’d be surprised to find yourself writing a criticism, and yet here, it has to be said, there is an elephant in the room: that second half.
It’s not that the record’s second half, the previously released tracks ‘Fire’ and ‘Lately’, are bad tracks, because they’re actually indulgent slices of lighter shades of bluesy singer-songwriter staples, and would be standouts anywhere else, but when following up two tracks that are clearly evolutions of themselves, reworking’s of a successful sound, it weakens the effect a little bit. I’m left longing for more music that is new, and that is in the vein of Shelter, and perhaps that will come soon.
On ‘Shelter’, as a whole, Charlotte Carpenter ties together her career so far, a comprehensive look at the sound she is constantly evolving, and the songwriter she is becoming, and acts as a platform for her to move forward.