CHARLIE DORE – Like Animals (Black Ink Records Catalogue BICD10)

Like AnimalsLike Animals is Charlie Dore’s tenth album and I was chuffed to bits when it dropped through the letterbox this morning, though somewhat daunted by the thought of having to write a review for such an established artist. Having had a taste of what was to come at the recent Folk Weekend Oxford remote gig I was looking forward to hearing the whole album.

Whereas her previous 2017 release, Dark Matter, looked at the world of physics, Like Animals deals with the human mind and our emotions. As always with Charlie’s songs we’re treated to the usual witty, clever and observational lyrics and wonderfully melodic voice.

The opening track ‘Collateral’ (one of the teasers from the FWO session) might ring some bells about certain people as it deals with those who don’t care of the consequences of their actions. ‘Rivers Of Cortisal’ was inspired by a panic attack and how to control them. Listen out for the sublime trumpet playing of Quentin Collins.

‘Animal Brain’ (the second teaser from FWO), is about talking inwards to yourself, something I guess we’re all doing a lot of at the moment as we stay in self isolation. On the same theme ‘A Hundred Miles Of Nothing’ (performed with Michelle Stodart) is about having space and slowing down

Something I hope we’re not having to deal with is infidelity, as described in her own inimitable style in “Ray And Lisa, Lisa And Joe’. While we’re on the subject of deceit, ‘Terrible Lie’ is about what to tell a child in these frightening times, but then what can be more soothing than hearing Jackie Oates helping out on viola and vocals.

So, do you ‘Sleep Like A Starfish’ when you have the bed to yourself? Apparently so in the Dore household, myself, I find I still stay on my side of the bed….

Who else but Charlie Dore could write about and use a leaf blower in a song (apparently it’s in the key of Bb) – this is exactly what ‘Leaf Blowing’ does, that and the use of bird song as well. The final track ‘Ordinary Names’ is about those names that seem to have fallen out of fashion, it includes names spoken by some of Charlie’s friends and Quentin Collins features again this time on flugelhorn.

The album is beautifully put together by Charlie and her co-conspirator and great friend Julian Littman and is of course mastered by the infamous Denis (Denis And Rose) Blackman.

Other musicians not already mentioned who add their magic touch are Gareth Huw Davies on double bass and cello, Jessie May Smart on violin and Julian himself on too many instruments to mention.

This is a lovely gentle and relaxing album which will get a lot of play in our house during lockdown. I would highly recommend adding it to your collection – five stars from me.

Duncan Chappell

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