To say Charlotte OC’s debut has been a long time coming would be a massive understatement. The Blackburn-born singer’s journey begun at the tender age of 18 when she inked a four album deal with Columbia, but came to a grinding halt after she was dropped after just one album. Subsequently, OC took up work in her mum's salon before relocating to Berlin, where she would take inspiration from the city’s decadent techno underground. One name alteration later, and a complete rehaul of her sound, and Charlotte OC’s first full length has finally arrived.
From the opening notes of ‘Careless People’, it’s obvious that the wealth of time OC has had to realise her sound has been invaluable. The brooding pop-noir of ‘Blackout’ kicks off a three-pronged attack including the crossover pop of ‘Darkest Hour’, and the glittering tapestry of ‘Medicine Man’. OC’s distinctive voice and style threads the songs together but it’s her limitless vocal chops that bring the lyrics to life in sublime and cathartic moments.
As the album wanders out of the darkness and into the uplifting, it takes a turn for the generic on ‘River’ — a song that’s taken more than a few cues from Ella Henderson’s ‘Ghost’. With her soul tendencies and vocal chops to rival that of the pop pantheon, it’s songs like ‘River’ and ‘Choice’ where the songwriting is compromised in favour of a topline. Luckily her jaw-dropping vocal capabilities are enough to maintain a consistently thrilling album, and it’s this that makes ‘Careless People’ worth the wait.
Words: Lisa Henderson
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