Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs – 'Clarietta' album review

Five Londoners debut with a groovy, proto-punk party album

Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs – 'Clarietta'

  • Rated as: 4/5

If you've ever wondered what seminal ’70s Boston garage band The Modern Lovers would have sounded like had they been fronted by Syd Barrett instead of Jonathan Richman, then here's your answer. On this debut album Charlie Boyer, with his mannered vocals and whimsical rhymes, is the brains of the operation, which leaves his cohorts free to pump out some brawny, elementary, thoroughly propulsive grooves. Their fizzy, thumping proto-punk racket is a joyful union of spiky guitars, vintage organ lines and falling-down-the-stairs drum fills. 'You Haven't Got a Chance' has a brilliantly simple two-note garage rock groove, and early single 'I Watch You' is a thrusting exploration of the border between rock ’n’ roll and the infinite drive of krautrock.

Sometimes the Voyeurs hit the guitar effects and go full-on psychedelic: 'A Lion's Way' and 'I've Got A River' aren't a million miles from the cosmic rock balladry of the band's labelmates Toy. And sometimes there are hints of British glam – although despite its 'Jean Genie' stomp, 'Be Glamorous' is one of 'Clarietta's week links, a slightly too on-the-nose tribute to the power of posing that recalls Todd Haynes's vacuous glam rock tribute film 'Velvet Goldmine' rather than the real thing. But for the most part 'Clarietta' is a straightforward rock ’n’ roll party record: primitive, rattling and very fun indeed. Hang on tight and enjoy the ride.

Watch Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs' 'Things We Be' video

Listen to 'Clarietta' on Spotify

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