The Glass Child
I’d Like to Remain a Mystery
The album, I’d Like to Remain a Mystery is available from:
Anglo-European artist Charlotte Eriksson provides “Alternative Pop with singing angels and screaming ghosts”. Her music provides escapism, ethereal beauty, raw emotion- as well as poetic illustriousness. On the evidence of her debut L.P., this stunning talent will be a huge future name to watch.
WHEN seeking out a great new act, I am often left impressed by a number of things.
Sometimes it is the music and ambition of the artist (that strikes me); occasionally it is their background and heritage that stands out- rarely do I find a musical ‘complete package’. An artists whom has a fascinating and detailed background, tied with an intriguing personality and projection is something that is a rarity in the modern scene. The mainstream and proliferation of generic solo acts has somewhat watered down the scene; few genuinely merit-worthy acts are making moves in the current climate. This point is less true when applied to bands, yet in terms of solo acts, I am at a loss to think of any that truly stick in the mind. Historically, we have had our fair share, but at the moment there is a bit of a scarcity. I have always loved Laura Marling as an artist; she is quiet and reserved, preferring to let her music do the talking- and it is music that sticks in the mind. As well as being one of the best singer/songwriters in the world, she comes across as articulate, intelligent and well-read: the epitome of what a modern-day artist should be. Located in L.A., the British-born artist seems to get better with each album. Aside from Marling, there are a couple of ‘mainstream’ artists capable of grabbing your attentions- yet it is new artists whom provide most fascination. In my course of surveying new music, I have encountered many weird, wonderful and lovely lone acts; each providing their own brand of brilliant song. From Canadian David Ward; through to Swede Anna von Hausswolff; to Brits Jen Armstrong and Second Hand Poet, there has been great variation and quality offered. Most of my ‘feature-ees’ tend to be British, and when looking to international quarters, I have been left somewhat ambivalent and jaded. Over the last few weeks I have reviewed two international acts; spent a lot of time focusing on their music- only for the subsequent review to be ignored and not acknowledged. It is a sad sign of the times that not everyone I take the time to feature will offer feedback; provide any sort of thanks or recognition- I guess it is a pitfall and cross I have to bear. It is not something that is reserved to foreign acts; and in both cases, I was not especially overwhelmed with the music on offer. My subject today is different in every sense, and I shall introduce you to her in due course. Before I do, I want to highlight a couple of other (prescient) points. As well as there being scant few acts whom provide tantalization in various areas, I have witnessed few European acts. Aside from van Hausswolff (as well as fellow Swedes, Club 8), I have heard of few European artists. Publications such as The Guardian and The Girls Are are doing their best to seek out Europe’s best, but they are amongst a minority. It is a shame, because it is here where some seriously phenomenal acts emanate. I have a love of French and German music; the Eletro artists, bands and solo talent that these nations promote. For my money, when it comes to seeking out diversity and the freshest and most vibrant music, Sweden is leading the charge. When I reviewed Dance/Disco-Pop act Club 8, I was staggered by their vibrancy, intentions and sheer quality. They tempt sunny themes and elliptical vibrancy through their mandates. Conversely, country-mate Anna von Hausswolff- with her Kate Bush-esque voice- mixes languid and symphonic church organs with something deliriously moody and striking. Her songs are mini-operas and you cannot help but to think that she will be a major star very soon. My general point is, that there is too much focus on the U.K. and U.S.- a lot of great European treasure is being left undiscovered. There seems to be a bolder sense of adventure and ambition here; a less homogenized and stagnated sense of ‘playing it safe’- greater mobility and pioneer, and as a result, more original music. My featured artists today not only provides a storybook background and loveable personality; yet has hereditary and native passion- tied with music that is both tangible and universal, but strikingly original and fresh. There seems to be (to me at least) a communication breakdown between the media, social media and music-lovers. I have mentioned a couple of publications which have a varied palette, yet most U.K.-based music sites focus too heavily on homegrown acts. It is understandable to an extent, yet many people are missing out on some of the world’s best music- for no good reason at all. When I discovered the brilliance of Los and the Deadlines (a band composed of four chaps from different corners of the globe), I was not only blown away by their music (I reviewed their E.P., Part One: Bank); but because of the kinship of the quartet. Blending different nationalities, background and personalities into the band, has not only lead to a richer and more electrifying whole, but also compelled me to seek out similarly diverse acts. I was disappointed that I happened upon the group somewhat surreptitiously; yet am grateful that I did. Keeping in touch with Niels Bakx (the band’s guitarist), I know that the Los’ boys have big future ambitions. I hope that a solution is found to a (worrying) problem; that sites are set up that are dedicated to foreign and international talent- ensuring that we in the U.K. (as well as the U.S. etc.) are made aware of what the continent has to offer. That conundrum is something we will have to solve another day, but for now, let me introduce you to someone rather special.
The Glass Child is the moniker of Charlotte Eriksson, and is someone I was made aware of via a mutual contact (Niels Bakx). Our heroine is someone whom sticks in your mind instantly. As well as being stunningly beautiful, she comes across as being born from a filmmaker’s dream. Eriksson herself confesses that her trajectory and background has all the hallmarks of a coming-of-age/fairytale saga; yet she has a pragmatic and level-headed approach to music. Before I investigate The Glass Child in more detail, I shall provide some biography: “The story of The Glass Child, Charlotte Eriksson, is one of those you usually see on movies. Only 18 years old she left everything she had and knew, family and friends, and moved to London to dedicate her life to her music and art. A vague dream about reaching out with her music became an everlasting journey about fighting for your dreams, self discovery, finding your true purpose and creating something that will mean something, now with over 25,000 dedicated followers and fans with her on her journey through her social sites like Twitter and Tumblr. Forward three years and she has started her own record label Broken Glass Records, released 4 EPs, released her critically acclaimed debut full-length ‘I’d like to remain a mystery’ in February 2013, had her single “I Will Lead You Home” reaching #2 on the Swedish Itunes-chart, was named Breakthrough Indie Artist Of The Year by Lemonade Magazine and been played on major radios such as BBC6, Sveriges Radio (Sweden) and 3FM (Netherlands). All alone, with nothing but hard work and determination she has built an incredibly dedicated community now with over 25,500 followers on Twitter, and to let her fans in on her journey even more she published her first book “Empty Roads and Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps” in April 2013, telling the true and raw story about a girl who had a dream and went for it with all her heart. The book was beautifully received and sold out after 3 days of pre-order. Charlotte is a wandering soul and after spending a year in England with nothing but a guitar and a will to search for something more, playing wherever she could play and crashing at fans’ floors, she has just made the move to Berlin, Germany, to seek new adventures and spread her music wider. “I believe in writing your own story. Do you wait for things to happen, or do you make them happen yourself?”, she says, and also shows how she’s constantly connecting with her fans in new ways. In September she released an acoustic edition of her album ’I’d Like To Remain A Mystery’, giving it away for free through Noistrade as a way to thank her fans, and the album was featured as a Top Download after only a few hours. With her constant search for new horizons the stories are endless, and to finish up a productive year she’s now releasing her new acoustic EP “Love Always, Your Tragedy”, and explains that “These songs are the letters I never dared to send. I wasn’t brave enough to speak up, so I sang instead.” “I wanted to turn my life into my art. My very existence into a poem. This is my story. It’s been a beautiful fight.” You can tell that as well as having a compelling and against-the-odds background, our heroine is determined and very much an independent spirit. I am always looking around for inspiration, and the fact that Eriksson is so young, yet has already set up her own record label- well, it is hugely impressive. Her output has been prodigious, and she is a restless and ambitious talent, intent of making huge waves in the music industry- for as many years as possible. Despite being focused and determined, The Glass Child is as a result of a combination of various musicians and input. As we speak, our heroine is in Germany and (with Bakx as well as other musicians) has been putting together the sounds, sights and sensations that will form her next L.P. To Eriksson, music is very much a collaborative and communal thing; she combines with wonderful musicians to ensure that her ideas and music are as rich as possible. This sense of openness and reciprocity is emphasised in her relationship with her fans. Having amassed a huge following across social media platforms, Eriksson has an impassioned bond with her supporters. Our heroine always seems genuinely chuffed and grateful when her music is shared, loved and well-received: it is a mutuality that has paid dividends. Too many modern artists seem rather distance or detached (with their fans); coming across as being too businessmanlike- and not projecting an air of approachability. I have featured too many acts whom do not give enough to their fans; whom seem cold and aloof- there seems no need for it. The Glass Child is a musical steamroller that is gathering huge momentum. Looking at critical reviews, it is clear that her music and artistry has hit a major chord:
” Take a look now at someone who’s taken a different route to get to the mainstream and someone who’s going to shatter the notion that success is all about ‘industry’ or watered-down throwaway music. The Glass Child has broken through with some music of real depth for her fans to keep. This is how music is going to sound good again. ‘Ghost’s’ shows the makings of an icon, I believe. ” Musicfeeds.com.au
“..she tears down walls with her music, using starkly honest lyrics and intense vocal chops to draw her listeners in and turn them inside out“
“There’s an ethereal beauty to Charlotte’s vocals that speaks straight from the heart. She knows how to make every word count, how to tear the emotion from every syllable.”
“You will be extremely hard pushed to find an EP that gives more than “The Glass Child”, let alone a debut EP. If there is any justice in this world, Charlotte Eriksson’s talents will be given the exposure they truly deserve.”
” The kind of voice that plays with your emotions and the type of lyrics that seem so similar to you, it’s almost scary. With brilliant music to match her voice and character, The Glass Child is an artist to look out for.”
“Once in a while you stumble across an artist you have never heard of before and they just blow you away.”
Our Swedish beauty has managed to win a great deal of hearts and minds thus far-and is in no mood to slow down now. As well as being a prolific and brilliant musician, Eriksson is also a novelist and poet: one whom has a genuine future in both arenas. The multi-talented star displays all of her work and ambitions on her official site (link is at the bottom of this review); and I would implore everyone to check her site out. Too many times, I come across artists whom have a sparsely sourced and empty personal site; their social media sites are meagre and threadbare- they fear that by putting in too much detail they are giving too much away. The Glass Child is an act whom not only produces brilliant and inspiring music, but also lets you into her world. Her official website has blog posts; top-10 lists of her favourite novels and albums; links to her music and photographs- as well as detailed up-to-date information. It is clear that music is an obsession that she is in awe of; something that she cannot live without: “I can’t sleep at night because how could I close my eyes when there’s a whole world out there, calling my name, waiting to be explored. I love intelligent conversations while laying on empty streets at 5am in the morning, and I love watching the sun rise over a world that is still asleep. I make mistakes and I mess up a lot, but I’m trying to learn how to be okay with that. Some days I couldn’t care less about what all of you think about my art because this is my life and all I have. But then there are days when all I want is to be beautiful and good enough and someone to count on.“. Before I get down to reviewing I’d Like to Remain a Mystery, it is worth noting that the album was released last year. I am compelled to review it, not only to introduce some terrific songs to your attention, but also to provide a snapshot of a young artist whom has already had a busy career. Her five-track E.P., Love Always, Your Tragedy is an incredible collection of songs, and a testament to a fierce and diverse talent. The music is touching and inviting; personal yet relatable to all. As Eriksson explained: “Every song on this EP started out as something I wanted or needed to tell someone. They are all letters of things I never said but wish I would have and I’m learning how to say things when I still have the chance. This EP is my letters to 5 different people who became a part of my life in one way or another, and I want these postcards to be yours. I wish we could all let each other know that we matter, and I hope that you will send this postcard to someone who might not know“. That E.P., was a bold and impressive statement from a talent pouring her heart and soul into her music. Previous to this E.P., Broken Little Winter and This Is How Ghosts Are Made were unveiled- two stellar and fine examples of a unique and stunning talent. That was then, and this (semantics aside) is now. The Glass Child lists the ‘band interests’ as “Mythologies, coffee, laying on empty streets at 5am in the morning, talking about the meaning of oceans, escapism, whiskey, tattoos, pop-bands from the 90s, eat pancakes“. They are ingredients and components that have resulted in some fantastic music. Whilst we await what Eriksson’s next album has to offer, I have been compelled to investigate her previous offering, I’d Like to Remain a Mystery.
Before you get into the music itself, it is the cover of I’d Like to Remain a Mystery that makes its marks. Baring a single image of our heroine; backed by white fairy lights, casting her gaze downwards. The cover photo is scratched and aged, given it the look of something that has been handled and looked at multiple times. The mixture of stylish lettering (showing the album title and ‘band name’) set against the stirring and potent image, is both modern and classic; familiar yet highly personal and fitting. Once you take your eyes and mind from our heroine- and investigate the album- there is plenty to get your teeth into. At 17 tracks, there is a bounty of varied and brilliant music (if you listen on BandCamp you can also access lyrics to the L.P.s tracks). A combination of echoed swirls and twinkling xylophone (or electric piano) notes herald in the title track. Eriksson’s voice is soft and tender; it skips and plays; teases and breathless implores- “Can you hear me calling, calling/I’m inside that falling star/I’m not human I am your belief“. The words tumble and trickle forth- there is an emotive pause- before further lines are syncopated forth. Our heroine’s voice is delicate and passionate as she claims “I think I made a myth of my own life“; a line both heart-breaking and perfectly apt (given the almost movie-like course Eriksson’s life taken). With galloping drums, our heroine’s voice goes from a Bjork-like child-like whisper to a full-bodied belt within a few seconds. Words about music-making and writing your own history (“It’s all about the way you write it down“), mingle with scenes of doubt and confusion (“No one knows if I’m real“). Eriksson’s voice is in emphatic form as she paints the picture of a young woman; part myth, part human: unsure of which she is, and how people see her. The track switches between hot-blooded vocal strength and delicate and balletic lightness: the effect is stunning. Eriksson’s love of words and poetry are evident from the first track; perhaps emphasised (and distilled) in the track’s final thoughts: “They will take me to the ocean/spread my ash across the sea/My story will go on but /I’ll remain a mystery“. After the dramatic swells and inner-visions of the opening track; Stay arrives. Again, there is a gentle and restrained intro. (this time light finger-picking guitar); one which leads to a beautiful and romantic vocal. Our heroine is in her lover’s arms- him resting on her shoulder- the two entwined, as our heroine whisper’s “we’ll be okay“. With misty eyes and her thoughts dedicated to her (anonymous) sweetheart, Eriksson yearns for her lover’s touch (“All my fear disappear when you’re getting near“); a man whom she wishes would stay- a safe haven whom can keep her warm. There are no vocal explosions or mood rushes here- everything is kept level as our heroine weaves her voice within the acoustic guitar notes. Eriksson’s voice retains her native accent, and sounds like no one else (a rarity in modern music). Softly imploring, it appears that the absence of her man has taken its toll: “I’ve never felt so wrong/When you are gone my fire’s gone“. With a particular powerful and evocative chorus (in which Eriksson’s voice trembles and rises emotively), it is a gorgeous paen to a treasured human- you wonder whether our heroine ever got her beau back. The Haunted flows similarly to the title track; our heroine’s voice once again switching between soft and hugely powerful. Riparian images mix with oblique scenes; personal detachment and visions of escape are uttered (“Don’t track me down I was born to leave/Don’t bother my name it was never me“). As with the previous two tracks, there is a sense of not belonging; a feeling of loneliness and mythology linger within The Haunted’s (approrpriately-titled) words. It is when Eriksson strikes and belt; rises and growls, that you stand to attention. Her voice sounds at once child-like; impassioned and womanly the next- wrapped around our heroine’s unique tones. There is a clear sense of dissatisfaction and regret (“I can’t stand the thought me“); of a young woman wanted to change or to get away. Whilst Byzantine poetry and fractured protestations are unveiled, our heroine multi-tracks her voice; weaves her vocals within one another- creating an evocative and haunting mood. Backed by bass, electric guitar and drums (that switch from charming and soft to swelling), it is another personal tale from a sensitive and determined woman- and completes an impressive 1-2-3. With an arpeggio swirl of beauty (including some classical elements), Give Myself Away begins. Our heroine’s vocals and sexy and breathy; composed of some brilliant phrasing and pacing, it is perhaps the most evocative track so far. Whilst Eriksson says (to an unnamed figure) “I call you my friend/why do they keep telling me to fight you“; her voice twinkles and coos (sounding a little like Bjork in parts). As the song starts to change gears, our heroine opens up; once again thoughts turn to release and escape (“I offer you my soul, if you take me with you/I swear I give my all, if you never let me go“). Again, we witness a song that changes pace (at once fast and breathless, the next tenderly slow); one which boasts a subtle yet powerful composition- and showcases our heroine’s vocal range. As she scores words that tempt darkened thoughts (“Think I’ve gone insane/Felling something pouring in my veins“) her voice remains controlled and powerful- never succumbing to histrionics. Consumed by You sees Eriksson back in romantic longing mode; speaking to a central figure, her voice (again) is aching and tender as she pours her soul onto the page – “A heart of stone and all these things I have become/I’m consumed by you“. Whereas Stay had a composition that was largely delicate and ethereal, here upbeat and punchy drum mixes with light and ghostly guitar. Eriksson’s voice reaches fever-pitch as she strikes: “Will you pull the trigger/Tell me what to say“. It is the heaviest song of the set so far, and Paramore anthemic are sprinkled into the melting pot. With gothic imagery (“The dead will dance for me tonight“) and scenes of screaming, crucifixion and ghosts, it is perhaps the most visually evocative (and provocative) track so far. Eriksson displays her lyric talent, again mixing oblique with poetic- but it is her voice which is the star. Over the first few tracks we have heard glimpses of how powerful her voice can be; here it is rampant and huge; mixed with sweet and soft evocations it a showcase of the young artist at her peak. With initial lyrics that tell of eyes meeting, stranger and “Chemics and I forgot“; Hit The Ground fascinates with its lyrics. Whilst the vocal performance is impressive and typically assured, the way Eriksson uses language and delivers her words is fascinating. Whereas the likes of Bjork cut and paste images; mix words and odd sentiments into a single line, here Eriksson presents her most intriguing set so far. When she says “I am fallen with me starlight/Making poems out of tears”, we see the blend of oblique and poetic all at once. Our heroine delivers her words beautifully; trickling lines together; pausing and changing pace within the space of a line- wringing as much emotion as possible from the lines. Whereas the previous track is a possible vocal showcase, here the emphasise (to me) is on the words. Our heroine introduces redemptive notes (“I was lost but now I’m found“); romantic images (“Whisper softly in my ear“) with striking images (“Defreeze my soul, Lips so cold“). As it comes to its conclusion, you wonder just what our heroine will offer next. Somewhere I Belong begins in emphatic and rebellious mood. Eriksson is in anxious mood, as she whips up an early sonic storm- “Now my stomach hurts again/And I don’t know what to do“. Dealing again with belonging and finding herself, our heroine delivers one of her most impassioned vocals. Words trip and strike as her band offer up a potent and powerful backing. Lyrics range from reflective and thoughtful (“Too old to be was strong/Too young to move on“) to self-destruction (“Spending my nights on the floor again/Empty bottles all around“). A departure from what has come back before, it is the most raucous (is that the right word?) and forceful number, and one that sees our young heroine trying to find her place; again wrestling with inner demons- and trying to find happiness. With an elongated and echoed (backing) vocal and sweet-natured composition, Letdown seems to deal with compromise and having to fit around someone else’s ideal (“I can tell you exactly/what you want to hear“). Whether speaking about a lover, or society in general, our heroine is concerned; worried that the way she dresses and speaks is perhaps wrong- that she should change who she is. When Eriksson says “I’m scared like hell I’m not enough“, you can hear the strain in her voice. With growls, sweet sighs and powerful rises, the vocal performance is (again) emotive and powerful. It is the most reflective and introspective track, with our star starting to doubt who she is- and the ‘real’ her. It appears that “nothing seems to please you“, she proclaims; admitting: “I’ll keep it to myself“. Again, Letdown sees Eriksson mix emphatic vocals with an impressive band performance. Past the 2:00 mark, the song goes into overdrive; our heroine pushing against oppression and trying to stay true to herself (“Oh you’re killing my belief/to be myself/and if I can’t make my own way I quit“). Creepy Little Story has one of the most intriguing intros. of the L.P., with a fairground waltz-cum-midnight tango, it sets the mood beautifully. Revolving around the central figure of Sophie; here is someone whom is pretty and small (“but she’s tired of it all“). Eriksson is the angel watching over; her voice is measured and gleeful, as she steps away from personal analysis and biography: to introduce some gothic and fictional storytelling. This girl who “grew up just like me“, is a curious and dark figure whom you will imagine in your head. Our heroine introduces creepy boys, haunting and strange images; Sophie it seems is not so fictional after all: “It turned out she was me“. With a beautiful melody and deft changes of pace, it is a departure from the previous numbers; and a perfectly mid-L.P. track. It blends Eriksson’s gift for storytelling and image-setting with a vocal that is at once delightful; and the next, unsettling. Hold On has a beautiful introductory coda and (brief) gorgeous wordless vocals. A pattering drum drive and rushing vocals breathe huge life into the track, as our heroine leads us into the song. Here, there is a sense of longing and romance; an overall positive mood and sense of yearning. The vocal is reliably gorgeous and snaking; bringing life to direct and impassioned words (“Hold on to what you’ve got/And I will never let this pass me by“). With London ablaze, and our heroine in full voice, there are all the expected hallmarks here: ghostly evocations, passionate implore and longing. Eriksson’s voice goes from a passionate belt to sweet whispers as she implores: “I could live as if I’ll never live again“. Hold On rises and swells to emphasise the emotions and lyrics, our heroine’s voice matching the energy and mood. There is a certain anthemic catchiness to the chorus, and is a track that I can see being a live favourite in time. As it reaches the closing stages, Eriksson has one (final) confession: “I am so scared of losing what I gain that I’d rather have nothing at all“. Stirring piano sounds herald the arrival of Lover I Don’t Have To Love; and the introduction of a tale of dislocated relations. Our heroine introduces a nameless figure; a man who seems mysterious (“When I asked your name/You asked the time“)- someone whom is perhaps aloof, or else seductive. The track is one of the most overtly sexual and direct. Eriksson tells of her hands “Pressing hard against your jeans“; the two lovers tongue entwined in a passionate embrace (“Trying to keep the words from coming out“). Whereas songs like Stay were more tender and coquettish, perhaps; here the other side of love is investigated- a pure and unadulterated passion. Complete with a strong and impressive vocal, the track is one of the strongest on the album, and once again shows another side to our heroine. We have gone from tender passion, to gothic scene; strange creatures and anti-heroines have been seen- here there is something sweatier; exhilarating and unadulterated. Eriksson has parts Lana Del Ray; bits of Bjork- and plenty of unique flair and wonder. It is a mini opera of lust and passion. In the morning, “We forgot where your car was parked” as the two lovers stagger into the morning light. Eriksson is very much on top and in charge, yet she still projects an air of caution and trepidation. The impassioned and enraptured repetition of “You didn’t hurt me” in the final moments is a fitting end to a brilliant track. “Come with me I’ll take you to the ocean where we can breathe” are the words that open Oceans. The track surveys a bygone romance; looks back at the good times and good nights that were shared; before our heroine’s sweetheart chose “reality/Reality instead of me“. With another powerful and memorable vocal, Eriksson is backed by guitars; and a whole lot of history. As our heroine pleads and implores, her voice rises and swells to operatic heights. With a frantic and emotive delivery, she speaks to her lover; begging him not to let go (and leave her on her own); offering (in exchange for devotion) genuine affection (” So close your eyes/I’ll show you love tonight“). By this point in the L.P., I am still impressed by the way Eriksson employs language; twists and turns her words- able to offer up some fascinating images. “And the piano full of blood/From the songs that I’ve been bleeding/A bottle full of wine I am standing on the ceiling” puts your mind into her imagination- you cannot help but to imagine and picture those words in full flight. With effective yet sparse backing, there is a larger emphasis on the voice and words; meaning that the full force of Eriksson’s words are felt. It is an atmospheric and augmentation number that displays our heroine’s lyrical talent; as well as putting her heart and soul under the spotlight. I Will Lead You Home boasts, perhaps, the most impressive intro. of the album. A beautiful and soothing acoustic line is unveiled; one that relaxes you and makes you smile (at the same time). Our heroine acts as a safe pair of arms; a guiding light in the track; she sends a message out (to an unknown subject(s) that she will guide them. “When you’re out of breath“; “When you’re left alone“- Eriksson says- then have no fear: “I will lead you home again“. Bolstered by a gorgeous and tender vocal display; with acoustic guitars that mix (Pink Moon-era) Nick Drake with Kings of Convenience, it is a heartwarming and heart-melting song. In a town with “Lovers walking hand in hand without a sound“, our heroine offers a helping hand. Whether Eriksson is speaking to a lover, friend (or perhaps a form of herself), it is unsure; what is clear the conviction and intention within the track. Whereas previous numbers may have left you exhausted (where emotions and hearts are being put through the wringer), I Will Lead You Home is a nice counter-balance and burst of sunlight. With wicked wordplay and striking lyrics, Stuck In My Mind starts its gestation amidst swooning and summer breeze guitar. Erikson’s voice is a paragon of touching beauty and seductiveness, as she states how she is going around in circles; looking behind her- “Two steps forward, one step back“. There is self-doubt and uncertainty, for sure, yet it is enveloped in the warmth and strength of the vocal, that is never becomes foreboding or heavy-handed. Oscar Wilde is quoted (and paraphrased), as books of wisdom are perused and studied; our heroine is doubting her mind and tripping over her feet. Whether the track documents a general anxiety (or a large malaise) I am unsure, yet it is obvious that there is a need for self-discovery; for answers and guidance a way to get out of this funk. Past the 1:00 mark, the mood swells (before exploding), as our heroine starts to doubt her mind. Monsters, ghosts and trees are employed as metaphors and symbols of oppressive force; Erikson pleads: “Can someone come figure me out“. As the track’s embers smoulder and the music ends, you wonder how much our heroine can take; whether she has found answers and reasons- and just what is coming next. Our antepenultimate track, Tell The World (Acoustic Version), arrives; with a dreamy lullaby (acoustic) guitar intro. is softly welcomes you in. A song that starts as “A journey on a broken piece of glass“, our heroine’s voice is at its tender best. Backed by the gorgeous guitar, Eriksson’s voice spikes and rises as she sings “I know you thought I disappeared“. An emphatic and determined call-to-the-world, our heroine repeats: “Tell the world I’m still alive/I found a way, yeah I survived“. With her voice if full flight, and filled with conviction, it is hard message (and song), to ignore. With a specular and romantic intro.- that reminded me of a Kate Bush gem- Play Pretend (Piano Version) arrives. Eriksson’s voice is in no laughing mood; she is fed up (of the unnamed figure), imploring him to “keep (talking) to yourself“. Her (former) beau has been playing her like strings and manipulating her for too long. Fed up of being used, our heroine has been diminished and ignored; proclaiming: “Just tell me how you want me to be!” With the soft (yet emotive) piano- flecks of percussion- and our heroine’s inflamed vocals, it is a stirring mood piece- both emotional yet defiant. Taking us to land, The Devil’s Sin (Acoustic Version) comes before us. Eriksson’s voice is, once more, soft and tender; backed by a delicate and evocative piano accompaniment. Speaking of the song’s central focus, our heroine sings: “My mind in his grip and through my lips/The devil’s words I let slip“. As with Play Pretend, Eriksson’s voice goes from a whispered coo, through to a gravelled growl; up to a full-bodied roar. With doubts and anxieties in mind (“I no longer know what’s wrong or right“), our heroine is feeling the weight of emotions. Whether referring to the breakdown of a relationship; personal doubts and questions, or recollection of a hard experience, the song gets into your head. When Eriksson confesses “I don’t want you to be the one who’s left all alone“- you can hear the conviction in her tones. As the song reaches its climax, you can feel the strain starting to show (in Eriksson’s voice); the song’s messages are taking their toll. As the final lines are delivered (“I am how your heart breaks/This is a dead heart’s game“), you wonder whether Eriksson gained some (much-needed) answers; whether absolution or salvation arrived. It is a fitting climax to the L.P., where cliffhangers are left- leaving you hungry for more.
Charlotte Eriksson and The Glass Child have created a splendid and captivating opus. At 17-tracks, it does not come across as too bloated or full- there are no filler tracks on the album. It may seem like I am coming across as too fawning or effusive, when it comes to The Glass Child- the truth is, I am not. You may not have heard of her until now, but Charlotte Eriksson’s endeavoring music and itinerant ambitions are what the music world needs. London is home to our heroine at the moment, but I can hear European influence (as well as U.S. acts). She yearns to be “Where I can sing as loud as I want, without wondering who is listening or what they think“. Although I’d Like to Remain a Mystery is over a year old, it is an L.P. that is still garnering huge praise and adulation. It is a brave and fascinating collection of songs that retains all of the personality and components of her previous work- yet is a leap forward and shows how confident and assured she is. I am amazed and impressed by how prolific Eriksson is, and what a range of sounds and sensations are available. Throughout the L.P., our heroine’s voice is compelling and thought-provoking; mixing gorgeous and soft shades with hugely powerful swells- a huge range. Her band is a noble and impressive force, and score the tracks beautifully- adding weight and texture to her mandates. It is perhaps the lyrics- to my mind- that stand out strongest. Being a lyrics obsessive myself, I am impressed by the range of emotions and themes Eriksson explores; the intelligence of the poetry is startling- the L.P. is a statement from a young woman whom adores words, and knows how to use them. You find yourself, not only listening to the songs, but immersed within their wings; travelling where our heroine takes you and imagining what she sees. For any songwriter, this can rank amongst their proudest achievement, as so few (in the modern age) are capable of doing this. Having listened to the album in its entirety, I was mesmerised by the talent of our the young Swede, and how accomplished the L.P. is. It not only is the result of years of self-discovery, hard work and consideration, but provides a fascinating glimpse into what her future sounds will be. My split infinitives aside, The Glass Child is an act that will be familiar to many new lips this year. As well as having a huge and loyal online following, she is still foreign to many ears- I hope this soon changes. I am not sure when the next L.P. will be released, but it is going to be a collection that will see some familiar elements- as well as some new steps and themes. Knowing Niels Bakx, I am wondering whether heavier guitar sounds will be included; and if any of Los and the Deadlines’ Rock majesty will be infused (into the album). Whilst we speculate, imagine and prophesies, take the time to investigate the back catalogue of a restless and brilliant talent. The official site for The Glass Child is a awash with beautiful photograph; fascinating insight and information- a glimpse into Eriksson’s mind and ambitions. I stated that a lot of artists provide practically no personal information or biography; expend the minimum of effort and time to connect with their fans- it is a huge relief that Eriksson is the polar opposite. Our heroine has been recording songs and keeping busy since the release of her debut album, and I hope that she plays some gigs in London soon- I would love to see her perform for sure. It is clear that Eriksson is keen to connect with her fans in as many different ways as possible; this is reflected in the appreciated that is paid to her. Her music may not be instantly familiar or relatable to all, but given time, the songs will reveal themselves in time. Being a songwriter myself, as well as looking for inspiration (in terms of what can influence my own music), I am keen to find great artists with a terrific story. Eriksson’s musical outpourings have pushed me to incorporate new facets and shades into my own music; to modify my (sometimes) rigidity- and be more adventurous and bold. As a human, our heroine is living her life the way she wants and dedicating herself to her music (poetry and literature); setting her sights high. Before I conclude, I will unveil some words from Eriksson herself: “I just want to mean something to someone because every person I meet mean the world to me and I just wish to belong. I just wish to be me and be loved for that. I’m mostly insecure, but I believe that if you want something bad enough, you can always find a way to get it. I love challenges because I’m here to prove myself and other people wrong. I still don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way…”. Our gorgeous heroine has a long career ahead, and it will be fascinating to see what her future steps will be. As well as an L.P. in-the-works, I am sure that there will be more songs; poems and writing from the twentysomething Swede. Along the course of my musical traversing, I have come across a great variation and range of artists- both solo acts and bands. I understand that the mainstream or ‘established order’ provide commercial profitability; there are artists that are there to inspire and lead the charge- yet I feel that the overall quality is not as high as it should be. It is the upcoming wave of artists whom provide the strongest music. Premiation should be given to one and all, as I am genuinely impressed by the ambition and talent that is currently out there. Charlotte Eriksson is an act whom is near the crest of the current wave, and I hope more fans and music-lovers investigate her music- and take her to heart. I hope one day to see her play; to meet her and see what is in her mind- where she hopes to take her music. Until I find out, I have been smiling when thinking about her album title (I’d Like to Remain a Mystery). In a way, The Glass Child is a name appropriate and (strangely) completely wrong for our heroine. Eriksson has a child-like wonder for the world; a curiosity and a sense of fragility. You can tell that our heroine has a vulnerable side and is seeking comfort, answers and a sense of belonging. Conversely, she has proven herself to be brave an adventurous; someone whom has gone out into the world and shown how independent she is. We have- and can- gleam a lot about Charlotte Eriksson; who she is, what inspires her- and what goes into making her music so memorable. In that regard, our young heroine is perhaps not such a mystery. She is an open and honest woman whom wants to let as many people into her world (and mind) as she possibly can. On the other hand, there is mystique and abstruseness to evident. I’d Like to Remain a Mystery (as well as her E.P.s and writings) have provided the voice behind The Glass Child, yet I have the feeling there is so much more; some secrets and thoughts that Eriksson is keeping inside of her. I hope that she keeps them to herself, as it is that sense of seductive mystery that makes our heroine so fascinating. Amidst the L.P. plans, sofa-surfing (she often crashes on fans sofas; in order to connect to them more directly) and European travels, Eriksson is optimistic about what is to come. It is not often you come across an artist whom not only hits you instantly, but also reveals layers and truths after every listen. Our heroine is someone whom has worked hard to achieve this; yet she does it with seemless effortlessness. When all is said and distilled…
PERHAPS that is the biggest compliment you can pay to anyone.
I’d Like To Remain A Mystery– 9.8/10.
The Haunted– 9.7
Give Myself Away– 9.7
Consumed by You– 9.7
Hit The Ground– 9.8
Somewhere I Belong– 9.6
Creepy Little Story– 9.9
Hold On– 9.7
Lover I Don’t Have To Love– 9.9
I Will Lead You Home– 9.8
Stuck In My Mind– 9.7
Tell The World- Acoustic Version– 9.8
Play Pretend- Piano Version– 9.7
The Devil’s Sin- Acoustic Version– 9.7
Standout Track: Stay
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