THE CZARS, "BEFORE... BUT LONGER"
With their country esque American feel and sound, The Czars seem like an unlikely pick for the Bella Union label.
Discovered at a South By Southwest shmooze fest, they have released their debut in the UK on Bella to a warm response in the UK. While I've got mixed feelings about SXSW, I don't have any about this CD. It's sweet and endearing, a pop record which will have a tough time cracking any pop charts over here due to its almost naked no-frills production and honesty. Vocal melodies, appropriate harmonies and a rich sound are created by this basic group of guitars, bass and organic drums. Vibes play on various tracks that are well-equipped for serene college radio programs. The more I listen to this disc, I hear influences of (excuse the music critic cliches) Nick Drake and Tim Buckley, but through the eyes of kids raised in good Southern homes. Folks who like a little twang accompanying their Low, or finde the idea of John Denver crossed with Stephin Merritt appealing would probably find something enjoyable in the Czars.