Tightrope – Charlie Nieland (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

I love books. I love music. How can I not love Charlie Nieland? Okay, there is more to it than that, obviously but that isn’t a bad argument to open with. 

Ahead of a full album, Tightrope arrives as part of a run of neat singles, sent out to tease the listener and test the water, including Divisions, the titular track which acted as my first taste of this intriguing man’s music. Intriguing? Well, yes. Anyone who is half of the literature-inspired songwriting and performing duo, which goes by the perfect name of Lusterlit, is going appeal to a fellow book-nerd. He is even joined on this song by the other half of the teamSusan Hwang.

It is Julia Gray’s Little Liar which provides the starting point for the song and in it, Nieland echoes the messages raised there. Of the similarities between wishing and lying and how we find ourselves falling into isolation and loneliness because we can’t see the colours around us. And such lyrics are driven by a wonderfully post-punk musical vibe and gorgeous washes and crescendoes of harmonies, sweet melodies and dark undertones.

And the video explores such themes even further, visually referencing the Oscar Wilde adage of us all being in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars. Something perhaps even more poignant than ever after the year of political division and lockdown separation we have experienced.

If a single which is sent out ahead of the full album release is designed to intrigue and entice the listener, perhaps pull them closer in, then Tightrope is due a fairly hefty bonus at the end of the month. Now let’s have the album, please. 

Failing that at least a reading list to tide us over!



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