Having found a lively appetite for the singles that UK rockers SLYDER SMITH & THE OBLIVION KIDS have uncaged in recent months it was inevitable that we were going to keenly wander over to the band’s debut album, Charm Offensive. Having turned up at its door with the incitement of those ear gripping lead tracks having shaped our hopes and expectations, we soon found ourselves with a surprised expression on our faces.
As the record roared from the speakers a big broad grin also arose for quite simply Charm Offensive is one of the treats of the year, a slab of rousing sound which fed every rock ‘n’ roll instinct within Those lead tracks certainly pointed to the chance of something with rich potential but the album swiftly highlighted that it was mere hinting. It bears a collection of songs which are as much hard and classic rock nurtured as they are punk and power pop bred, each unleashed with dextrous hook swinging enterprise and ranging from ferociously infectious to cunningly seductive; together making up one of the most memorable and irresistible propositions of 2022.
Led by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Slyder Smith, former lead guitarist of glam-tinged power popsters Last Great Dreamers, and with bassist Tim Emery and drummer Rik Pratt alongside, the band soon had ears pricked up with the release of singles When The Rain Comes and Pleasure Victim earlier this year. Together they sparked certain anticipation for the Pete Brown (George Harrison, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Marc Almond, The Smiths and Sam Brown) produced Charm Offensive and it quickly and eagerly rewards.
The opening invitation of El Encantador starts things off, a Mex Latin enticement instantly evoking the imagination ready for the lusty exploits of Calico Queen. The following song soaks up the drama of the opening piece and shares it with rhythmic incitement and melodic celebration with Slyder’s vocals soon matching the rousing tempting of the music. The track is a lively animation of sound and enterprise needing no encouragement to set the body swinging and vocal chords roaring.
A virulent slice of rock ‘n’ roll, the track is soon matched in manipulation and captivation by I’m Done. Southern smokiness wraps its hard rock exploits, the track instantly hitting a controlled but exuberant stride as melodic strands of classic rock inspired guitar and Hammond cast flirtation from Neil Scully align with Slyder’s ever magnetic and encouraging tones.
When The Rain Comes bounds in next, the song instantly weaving an anthemic pull on the senses as rhythms and riffs collude in viral catchiness and vocals echo their incitement. Further fuelled by the infectious jangle of Slyder’s guitar, the track is pure pop infused rock urging on body and vocal chords, its celebratory sonic air in contrast yet tandem to the lyrical reflection upon darker emotive times.
Crash Landing In Teenage Heaven brings a glam hue to its nostalgically woven rock ‘n’ roll, its considered yet again galvanic gait and call finding a Bowie-esque breath to its tempting before I Don’t Want To Run swiftly wraps around ears with keys as a banjo entices. Quickly keen rhythms further orchestrate song and reaction, the track revelling in its power pop meets classic rock breeding while Maya sways before ears with its own individual fusion of rock and pop, a proposition embracing decades past and new invention. All three tracks also epitomise the inherent contagion of songwriting and sound within the release, whether a spirited uproar, melancholic rumination or simply a rock fired shuffle, virulence welcomingly trespasses, further indelible proof coming courtesy of Pleasure Victim.
Another offering finding its own character and creative noise from the varied rock palette of the band’s sound, the song is a stomping surge of hard and punk rock with pop punk devilment. Rebellious almost belligerent, the track mischievously had us bouncing like a puppet, its rhythms bordering pugilistic and melodic revelry a fiery mix of seventies inspirations.
Road Love follows with its own recipe of temptation, the track new wave/punk rock brewed and classic rock fired and with its predecessor greedily sharing favourite track honours though they are soon harassed by the melodic captivation and infectiousness of Hope Without Warning with its punk rock kilned jangle.
It is fair to say we did not expect to be as taken with the cover of NeverEnding Story which comes next, but the movie’s theme song makes for a quick participation calling enjoyment before Oblivion Kids rips through ears with its seventies meets eighties multi-flavoured pop rock to equally pull throat and limbs into its rebel rousing shenanigans.
The album ends with an evocative reprise of El Encantador and No More Mr. Bad Guy, an instrumental building on its scent and intimation in a melodic tale of suggestion and craft spun within a Morricone meet the Shadows climate of sound.
It is a glorious end to a quite outstanding release which quite simply is one of our and the year’s keenest pleasures.
Charm Offensive is out now via Ray Records (Cargo Records); available digitally, on 12” black vinyl, and on digipak CD @ https://slydersmith.com/store
Upcoming Live Shows:
6th Oct – MANCHESTER – Star & Garter
7th Oct – BLACKPOOL (Rockmantic) – The Waterloo
8th Oct – GLASGOW – Audio
9th Oct – EDINBURGH – Bannermans
11th Oct – EDINBURGH (solo acoustic) Bannermans (w/ Tony Wright)
3rd Dec – SHEFFIELD (Winter Rocks Festival) – The Corporation
4th Dec – NEWCASTLE – Trillians
20th Dec – LONDON – Water Rats
Pete RingMaster 05/09/2022
Copyright RingMaster Review