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'The Plural of Yes'   

-  Album: 'The Plural of Yes' -  Label: 'Words on Music'
-  Genre: 'Pop' -  Release Date: '22nd June 2009'-  Catalogue No: 'WM26'

Our Rating:
‘Everyone Deserves to Love’ is a gentle acoustic number with some interesting key changes and incidentals that see it veer between Richard Butler’s post-Psychedelic Furs work and the song that Oasis always wanted to write but never could manage, instead winding up with the immensely popular but nevertheless clumsy, lumpen ‘Wonderwall.’ In short, it’s a great start to an album that reveals new shades of tone and well-considered nuances with each listen. ‘Love Condensed’ exemplifies this perfectly, it’s frame of acoustic strum and subtle, restrained percussion delicately curled around with the tendrils of strings that add layers without overembelishing.

Reviewers often bleat on about songs being perfectly crafted, but Almost Charlie really do epitomise the idea of musical craftsmanship, in that the songs sound simple, yet are often deceptively complex and layered in their arrangements and structures. What’s more they make it sound so natural, so effortless. Consequently, while ‘The Plural of Yes’ is a pop album, it’s a pop album in the sense that it’s intensely listenable and has widespread appeal, rather than in the sense that it’s flimsy, irritatingly catchy, image-focused, overproduced and aimed at the under-sixteens. Which I suppose makes it pop for grown-ups: AOP, perhaps?

Inviting comparisons to Bacharach and the Beatles, it wouldn’t be entirely unjust to also suggest elements of 10cc and a less obvious Lightning Seeds. It’s far from unpleasant and there are enough changes in tempo, time signature and instrumentation across tracks like ‘So far and Yet so Near’ which evokes Belle and Sebastian with a hint of Slowdive, the upbeat Britpoppy ‘In Another Life’ and the naggingly emotive ‘Empty Heart’ which boasts a guitar line that wouldn’t sound out entirely of place on the first Smiths album, to hold the interest.

Proceedings are brought to a close with the intimate, delicately and touchingly orchestrated title track, which has an air of resignation and of late-night musings that avoids self-pity and ends just when you least expect it.
  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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