Churchills, The - 2000 You Are Here

edited October 2020 in year-2000

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ARTIST: Churchills, The
ALBUM: You Are Here
LABEL: Abrupt/Universal
YEAR: 2000

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image
LINEUP: Ron Haney - vocals, guitar * Kim Henry - guitar, vocals * Bart Schoudel - bass * Phil Bloom - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Beautiful (Coulda Woulda) * 02 Ex #1 Fan * 03 Headstrong * 04 Everybody Gets What They Deserve * 05 Disposable * 06 Gonna Take A Lot To Stay * 07 Cars * 08 Running In Circles * 09 Wrong Side Of Bed * 10 Cold As Steel * 11 Mysticated Girl * 12 Maybe Make Me Okay

Background

After impressing with their indy debut 'Magnifique 300' a few years back, New York based The Churchills have made the step up to a major label for their new release 'You Are Here' and the end result is surprisingly good.

The Churchills' transition to Universal has seen the band record an album positively brimming with clever pop sensibilities, gorgeous melodies and solid playing without sanitising aspects of their sound for maximum commercial appeal. If anything, 'You Are Here' is more diverse, more learned and more experimental than its predecessor.

The Songs

Opening track 'Beautiful' has been selected as first single yet despite its quality it is not an obvious choice. Something of a grower, this mid tempo tune boasts impressive guitar work from Kim Henry and a passionate vocal from Ron Haney but makes a surprising choice as lead off tune.

The jangle-pop of the quite magnificent 'Gonna Take A Lot To Stay' or the re-hashed 'Everybody Gets What They Deserve' from 'Magnifique 300' would be my choices. The former displays the band's Beach Boys influences wrapped around an instantly addictive chorus, while the delicate piano, huge hookline and stirring vocal of the latter makes the re-working a justified effort.

Guitarist Kim Henry demonstrates her own vocal talents on the excellent 'Headstrong' which has a Garbage feel to it, while the refreshing mix of styles continues on the Weezer-esque 'Disposable'. Penned by bassist Bart Schoudel, this is one of the best tracks on offer and shows how much The Churchills have benefited by not recording a whole album of 'Everybody..' clones or recycling pop cliches.

It seems the whole band are comfortable in filling a variety of roles, as the twin vocal of Haney and Henry demonstrates on album closer 'Maybe Make Me OK' and on another contender for future single, 'Running In Circles'. Check out the latter if infuriatingly addictive pop is your taste. You won't be disappointed.

The album is not totally without fault though. Songs like the waltzy twaddle of 'Cars' and the plodding banality of 'Ex #1 Fan' don't really hit the target, and lyrically the band are prone to the odd juvenile turn of phrase.

Obviously a big bucks advance means big bucks production and co producers Steve Dudas and Mark Hart (Crowded House) twiddle the knobs to such an extent that sometimes the embellishments are a little overpowering. Thankfully Haney's voice doesn't get lost in the mix but a little bit of the band's dynamism certainly does.

In Summary

Overall, 'You Are Here' is an endearing and pleasantly diverse pop-rock record. Majors are not always renowned for their patience, but let's just hope Universal has the savvy to recognise the talent they have at their disposal. Because on the evidence of this release, we should be hearing a lot more from these guys in the future.


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