It’s always nice to see the former ‘Til Tuesday lead singer unleash a new recording and Aimee Mann has again delivered the goods. The gutsy title track ‘Charmer‘ starts off the encounter a radio friendly sound that sits nicely in that genre ‘AOR’. But when you have such a good strong voice as she possesses you have a good base to build on. ‘Disappeared‘ follows and has a calmer feel to it. The keyboard sound that emerges every now and then does hint of the The Who’s sound of the late 70’s. This track should really be a single and the lyrics really do say it all “…lets sing that song, you’re gone“.
With age should come maturity and it’s certainly so with ‘Labrador‘, a well crafted song that has cool calculated changes in her vocal pitches. ‘Crazytown‘ again harks back to the era of the flared jeans and chequered shirts. Though the slide guitar is replaced by a sleek keyboard to keep it fresh and up to date. Next up is ‘Soon Enough‘ which continues alongwith this vain of sound. It is alot more complex yet still light enough to make it not heavy on the ear. James Mercer, lead singer of The Shins, duets on ‘Living A Lie‘ and breaks the album up nicely. The harmonies actually sound superb just as equally as when you hear them sing alone.
‘Slip And Roll‘ would be the start of side two surely if this was a vinyl recording, a slowed down ballad which lends well to Aimee’s vocal range. Things again pick up pace with ‘Gumby‘ which is a story of broken family communications, something I think we all can relate to during our lives. The rockier ‘Gamma Ray‘ takes it another notch again as she sings “..it all starts with a great big bang“, maybe not as explosive but at the right level. ‘Barfly‘ is another ballad that could mistaken for some long-lost Eagles song. The album comes to a close on ‘Red Flag Diver‘ sang in a faster beat than anything else that preceded it. The guitars particularly sound crisp and compliment the mellow percussion. All I can say welcome back Miss Mann and please don’t leave it too long next time. 8/10.