Review Summary: The guiltiest of guilty pleasures
There is something simultaneously both off-putting and irresistible about this trio of winsome blondes dressed in matching short skirts, t-shirts and tennis shoes while, with the barest competence, mashing out a bubble-gummy take on four-power-chord '90s alternative rock. On the one hand, it's kind of vapid, with vague references to girl power and stupid boys and none of the raw confessional takes on sex and relationships or instrumental abrasiveness of true grunge. But on the other hand, it is
pretty catchy and fun.
Young & Lonesome
is a brief three-song EP from a band that has only six songs in total to its name—the other three are album-less singles and videos. Arguably, the songs on this EP aren't as strong as the singles, but they are a fairly decent introduction to the band's sound. That sound encompasses familiar-sounding fuzzy guitar riffs, slapback reverbed clean guitars, handclaps, and hazy vocal harmonies. If Nirvana defined mainstream grunge by deconstructing power pop idioms and filtering them through punk rock and a Pixies obsession, Hey Charlie reverse engineers power pop by using Nirvana and Veruca Salt as its starting template.
Hey Charlie may not be exactly plagiarizing their influences, but it would be incredibly hard to ignore the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" riff making an appearance on the title-track while also recalling The Offspring's "Self-Esteem" when the band jumps on the riff with some gang na-na-na's. However, just because the band isn't either original or particular thought-provoking doesn't mean it isn't fun. The guitar riffs and hooks, though simplistic, are effective. The bass does its job, nothing more nothing less. But when the band picks up the pace on "She Looks Like a Dreamer" and "Cheer Up Princess", particularly driven by a sparkling and energetic performance by Lauren Anderson on drums, it will burrow its way into your skull like a pink-flannel-clad earworm.