If you’ve been following Sydney-via-Northern Rivers artist Charlie Gradon like we have over the past couple of years, you might have felt an unusual feeling when he dropped his EP last week: relief. Sweet relief. Anyone that’s listened to his debut album Self Doubt knows that he’s a special talent that radiates raw energy and emotion, there’s no doubt there. It’s just that we were starting to get a little impatient, bordering on worried…
Blurry Ones largely picks up where Self Doubt left off, with both batches of tunes written in roughly the same patch. Once again Gradon opens his heart and his mind, serenading us with softly strummed guitars, gospel falsetto and colourful melodies as he documents the twist and turns of adulthood with a poetic gaze.
But why waste our words trying to describe it, when you could be hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth. Check out Charlie’s track by track below and head here to follow him on Instagram:
Leaving behind the painful solitude of my first Ep ‘Self Doubt’, I present to you my sophomore effort ‘Blurry Ones.’ It tells the story of my battle with mental illness against a backdrop of finding true love. An interesting motif that often isn’t explored. It’s usually a ‘nobody loves me’ or a ‘I love you baby’ record’, however I’ve tried to toe the line between the two. Here is a song by song breakdown, which should hopefully give you some more insight into the ups and downs of the last couple of years.
‘Grieving’ sounds like a break up song, I guess in a way it is. But it’s about my old band. It was a cathartic exercise in letting go and moving forward. I love the texture of this song, it’s nostalgic and honest, and sounds like it’s been in an old VCR machine for 10 years.
‘Love Don’t matter’ is a love song about depression. A couple of years ago [my wife] Ally was away touring most weekends and i was in a deep rut, we were solid as ever but I was in a bad way, this song shows that unless you are looking after yourself, you can’t be a loving partner.
‘Love’s for liars’ paints the picture of a relationship of passion and turmoil, confusion and forgiveness, and giving in to love. The verse is an internal battle of jealousy and lust, yet when it reaches the chorus there’s a big release, ‘I am helpless and yours, don’t you want to calm down love’. These songs represent a significant turning point in my life, where I chose the present moment and the future over my addiction to the past.
‘Fights and Fears’ explores how fighting can be helpful in relationships and how fears hold the truth. I took inspiration from ‘Hammond Song’ by the Roches for this one, I hope it shows, as every time I hear that song it makes me cry. I feel like the first record was only really observable from the audience perspective, I wanted to invite the listener inside this time around and give away a little of the control. This song was actually initially meant to go on the Self Doubt ep, but it felt more at home here.
I had good friend Dan Frizza engineer the sessions at my home so that I was able to keep in the intimate feel. I underestimated how much this would affect the sound. He put in a lot of time and effort with me to shape a soundscape that raised the bar from my first ep without taking away the DIY feel.
The story of ‘Difficult Week’, begins at a festival site where my now wife and I spent NYE many years ago. The bassline and drum pattern for this song was on loop in my head for a good couple months before it became the song. Experiencing the present moment is a strong theme in this song ‘it’s a good day to be alive’. When we reach the bridge, I tell the story of Ally and I falling off a balcony on a different new year’s eve a couple years ago and almost dying. There is a nice moment of peace between this and the last song ‘Blurry Ones’. I recorded this sitting on the floor, playing an electric guitar unplugged with a ribbon mic capturing the sound up close.
Then finally ‘Blurry Ones’ is the emotional release of the record. After all the confusion, pain and passion, the last lyric resolves it all as “I’m getting happier, and it’s all thanks to her.”