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Charles Boyd’s album More Sex Less Violence, begs the question: tortured soul or horny teenager?

Written by Album reviews, Music

During a summer clean out of the Courier’s office, our illustrious editor and I came across a mysterious airmail package dated from 2016, posted for $2.50 all the way from Canada. Inside lay an audio treasure trove of filth and sadness, clearly sent years ago for review and indeed listened to but left unreviewed by more sensible writers and Courier ‘journos’, until now.

Content warning: explicit sexual lyrics.

Upon finding a computer with a still working CD ROM drive we fired up our newfound prize. It seemed that Charles himself had handwritten the envelope and posted it to us and after checking the archives it seemed a shame that no review had ever been written for this sweet-looking Canadian man’s work. Upon the first lyrics leaving the speaker we found out perhaps why that was. After a summer of extensively listening to Mr Boyd’s work I now finally feel psychologically ready to review one of his many albums. However, it’s safe to say there is a lot to unpack from the whole album More Sex Less Violence, so for the sake of sanity and brevity I shall stick to a singular track that I think captures the tone and flavour of this particular album and indeed much of Charles’ work.

Your vision of this sweet innocent Canadian love affair is immediately changed
Track 2. ‘Fire’. A catchy beat paired with a melancholy chiming of chords accompanies Charles unique, hopeful yet pleading tones, as the lyrics tell an age-old story of a man meeting with a long-distance lover for the first time. Speaking of love letters, the friendship and deep connections that the two star-crossed individuals felt that they share, even before their initial meeting, are also addressed in the lyrics. All of a sudden, the vocals crack and we enter the chorus and your vision of this sweet innocent Canadian love affair is immediately changed. Charles launches into an impassioned appraisal of his lover’s intimate areas as well as detailed descriptions of biological processes he wishes to initiate and complete. Lyrics such as “Your p***y’s on fire and I represent the fire brigade” are about as close as we get musically nowadays to Shakespeare’s “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”. He follows up further claims of his partner’s flammable anatomy with a quick witted and romantic solution that would even make County Durham’s own Elizabeth Barrett Browning think again on the poetic subject of love: “Only c*m can put out the flames” croons Mr Boyd, his voice cracking with all the mid-pubescent gusto of a year eight boy in a spoken word Spanish exam. Yet the song turns again in the closing moments to reveal, with all the tact of an M. Night Shyamalan feature compressed into three minutes and fifty seven seconds, that in fact it is all a peculiar dream sent fourth from Charles’s tortured subconscious that he has brought musically to life for our audio pleasure. My own subconscious perhaps wishes he hadn’t.

‘Fire’ can be listened to on YouTube here.

 

Review by Stephen Dawes Esq., Chair of Student Council, President of the Conservative Society, Secretary of the  Politics Society, Bronze Swimming Certificate owner, Summer Reading Challenge 2009 compeleter, Resident Right Winger, Ball Pit Warden, Student Open Day Guide, Mario Kart Player, Lord Paramount Protector of Otley

Last modified: 19th August 2019

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