Saturday, July 13, 2019

Summer of Subway: The Charlottes

Get ready to turn it up... way up. The Charlottes were arguably the loudest of the Subway Organization's bands. Hailing from Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, the female-fronted quartet released one single on the East Anglian label Molesworth Records in 1988 before joining Subway. The 'Lovehappy' LP (SUBORG 12) followed in 1989 and included "Are You Happy Now," the A-side of that Molesworth single. The album is an array of drum fills and feedback. You can also hear hints of where the band would go next, especially in the moody "Keep Me Down."

There would be one more recording for Subway, the three-song "Love In The Emptiness" single (SUBWAY27), before a move to Cherry Red. The 1990 album 'Things Come Apart' didn't do much upon release, but it is remembered now as one of the earliest albums in the shoegaze movement. Somehow, it's even louder than 'Lovehappy.' The one single from the LP, "Liar," actually got traction on college radio in America, but by then drummer Simon Scott had made a move to Slowdive. The Charlottes were no more.

Enjoy the A-side of the 'Lovehappy' album. 'Lovehappy' hasn't had a reissue since a Japanese label picked it up in '94, but Optic Nerve Recordings assembled a beautiful reissue of 'Things Come Apart' in 2013 and is still in print.

Are You Happy Now
Keep Me Down

So far in the Summer of Subway series:
Bubblegum Splash
Shop Assistants
The Soup Dragons
Rodney Allen
The Rosehips
Korova Milk Bar
The Clouds


C said...

Love the youthful burst of energy that is Are You Happy Now. I'd like it even more if the vocals were a little higher in the mix but I think that's because my ears have got so attuned to modern production... but at the same time a lot of the charm still lies in the fact that it isn't so polished.

Brian said...

Polished is a word that won't come up when describing Subway's acts, that's for sure. Timing is everything, and this band could have gone places if they could have held it together just a bit longer.

Jez said...

Time for serious name drop action by me: CLANG #1: I was at school with Charlottes' guitarist Graham's younger brother (Graham was at the same school, but far too cool to have anything to do with the likes of me); CLANG #2 the record label you mention, Molesworth Records, was the baby of my old English teacher, Andrew Clifton.