Various Artists | Strange Magic

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Rock: 60's Rock Pop: Bubblegum Pop Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Strange Magic

by Various Artists

Produced by Jim Diamond (White Stripes, Von Bondies, Mooney Suzuki). Keyboard Magazine says, "Smart and edgy, punk-ish and endearingly bitchy, Boston-grown garage rockers the Charms craft memorable tunes on Strange Magic."
Genre: Rock: 60's Rock
Release Date: 

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  song title
artist name
1. American Way The Charms
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3:20 album only
2. So Romantic The Charms
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2:43 album only
3. Here's To You The Charms
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2:49 album only
4. Lose Child The Charms
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3:21 album only
5. Cold War The Charms
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2:07 album only
6. Broken Heart The Charms
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2:24 album only
7. Strange Magic The Charms
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2:52 album only
8. Star Rider The Charms
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3:02 album only
9. My Friends The Charms
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2:55 album only
10. Touch The Charms
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3:13 album only
11. The Wolf The Charms
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3:14 album only
12. Shes Waiting The Charms
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2:59 album only
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Album Notes
All of The Charms releases available here:
NEW EP 'Heroes and VIllains' available for digital download!

Worcester Telegram Gazette Review

The Charms plays like a band that knows that this is its shot at the big time. And with its fourth disc, “Strange Magic,” the Somerville garage rockers will put unsuspecting listeners under their spell and make them collectively sigh, “Ellie Vee, where have you been all my life?”

Consisting of the aforementioned singer songwriter Ellie Vee, as well as guitarist Joe Wizda, bassist Mark Nigro, keyboardist Ethan Jon Kreitzer and drummer Prince Frederick, the Charms emerge as liberators in the age of false American Idol worship on the leadoff track, “American Way.” Taking potshots at government lies and television manufacturing “pop tarts with candy lips,” Vee wants to shake society out of its cable-ready, brain-numbing compliance. And what better way to do that than rocking with reckless abandon?

The Charms pays homage to the power pop combo the Romantics (with whom it recently toured) on the album’s first single, “So Romantic.” And the result is what the Romantics would have sounded like if quirky ’80s singer Josie Cotton fronted it. Asking the musical question, “Oh what do I have to do to get to you?” Vee pleads for our affection, despite the fact that she had us with the singalong chorus.

Vee makes a bitter toast to her two-timing boyfriend on the infectious kiss-off “Here’s to You.” Simultaneously giddy and aghast by the betrayal, Vee chastises her boyfriend for being threatened by a strong-willed woman. And when she’s speaking strong-willed woman, you know that Vee isn’t talking malarkey. Vee declares her independence with a cavalcade of roaring guitars and pounding drums, making her cynical toast one that real rock lovers can rally behind.

“Cold War” is a crazed, rockabilly number that sounds like the dream merging of Joan Jett backed up by Eddie Cochran on guitar and Jerry Lee Lewis on piano. With a tongue-in-cheek nod to Cochran’s “Summertime Blues,” Vee plans to take her romantic woes to the United Nations. Playing John F. Kennedy to her boyfriend’s Nikita Khrushchev, Vee throws diplomacy to the wind in the lines, “Oh, oh, you wanna fight/Oh, oh, oh, well I don’t fight nice/Now that you’re out and now that you’re done/It’s a cold war.”

The title track, “Strange Magic,” gives a glimpse of what the Go-Go’s would have sounded like if Belinda Carlisle was replaced by Divinyls’ Christina Amphlett. Proving that Vee’s reminiscences are even retro, this irresistible, new wave throwback celebrates “sunny day hi fi memories” of cruising in one’s favorite car equipped with a trusty tape deck.

The Charms serves up a healthy dose of hedonistic, head-banging hanky panky on “Touch.” Aspiring to be the female equivalent to AC/DC’s “You Shook Me,” this ode to a lover who pushes all the right buttons erupts with plenty of sex-kitten-in-heat vocals and heavy, arena rock guitar riffage.

“The Wolf” is a naughty rocker about big black cars, moonlight drives and insatiable appetites. Accompanied by crunchy guitar riffs, locomotive bass lines, swirling Farfisa keyboards and crashing drum beats, Vee howls out how she’s ready to give her man what he wants when he wants it, while the male listeners out there hope she’s talking to them.

With its cushiony vocals, twangy acoustic guitars and world-weary lyrics of heartache and disappointment, the album’s closer “She’s Waiting,” will undoubtedly appeal to the coffeehouse crowd. However, when you’re caught up in a Charms record, the last thing you want to hear is some Sixpence None the Richer knockoff. True, it’s nice that Vee’s adept at singing, “Oh, she’s waiting/waiting on you boy,” but it’s so much more fun when she is turning men into mincemeat and/or getting her male suitors hot under the collar.


to write a review

Ken Lawrence

Who says rock is dead Huh?
What can you say the title of the review says it all. They say rock at least on commercial radio is dead. Well, someone didn't tell the charms that. if you don't have charmed I'm sure, so pretty, and pussycat, what are you waiting for get them and be sure to add this one to it, cause you can't stop rockin'

David Welsh

The tastiest rock 'n roll stew in recent memory. Sticks to your ribs!
Ya gotta love this latest blast of pure rock 'n roll energy from the Charms! They blend classic rock references and detonate a glorious noise which sounds equal parts retro and brand-spankin'-new. The songwriting manages to weave traditional teenage lust and heartache with contemporary sociopolitical commentary--a neat hat trick which never sounds preachy while issuing an irrestible call to dance and sing along! This CD has not left my player since I plugged it in. My only concern is the smoke and flames which fill my car every time I crank it up! Rock 'n roll is still alive and vital--and the Charms are the living proof.


Commercial and fun
The Bluesbunny fondness for loud guitars and perfect pop music has got him into trouble on more than one occasion. Excessive and repeated playing of this quality release from the Charms required all of his negotiating skills to keep the local police from being called. Something to do with turning it down apparently.

Well, what caused this over exuberant operation of the CD player? We shall begin with "Lost Child". Radio friendly (in a good way); Ellie Vee's lead vocals would melt the coldest of hearts. Showing considerable energy, the piano driven - by Ethan Jon Kreitzer - "Cold War" snarls its way out of the speakers in a way that made us think of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Reminiscent of Marc Bolan in some ways, "Star Rider" took us back to the golden age of British pop music - not at all bad for a band from Massachusetts. Just in case you think it is also loud and up-tempo, the album ends with a fine piece of sunny Californian style ballad in "She's Waiting". If you should ever need convincing, this is the track that will charm you (pun intended).

If there is justice in the world (as opposed to the music business where there never has been any), this band would be massive. They write jaunty, catchy little numbers that you can sing along to. It is just the ticket for that journey we generally refer to as summer.