Nov 2023 03

Album CoverCharming Disaster
Album: Super Natural History
Category: Gothic / Folk / Rock
Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2023-03-03
Author: Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)


If the grim historical connotations of Our Lady of Radium were perhaps too bleak, even when compared to topics of crime and the occult that adorned Charming Disaster’s earlier records, then Super Natural History seems to be something of an antidote to the misery. This fifth album sees Ellia Bisker and Jeff Morris continuing to revel in their gothic folk flights of fancy, but with a more esoteric dive into the alchemical and metaphysical properties of… well, as the title suggests, the supernatural. What’s more, the album feels markedly more stripped down in its instrumentation, with the bright harmonies and back-and-forth bantering interplay of the vocals remaining the anchor upon which the music runs aground. There is an inherent whimsy to some of the songs, as on “Grimoire,” inspired by Pam Grossman’s Waking the Witch, the horn accompaniments in tandem with the self-referential lyrics about “a pagan priestess, the Witch of the East in Ancient Egypt or New York City” sure to elicit a chuckle, or in the ‘60s go-go vibe of “Disembodied Head,” which almost sounds like something Lou Reed might’ve written for an episode of Futurama centered on the jarred heads of figures long dead. The same can be said of the jauntiness of the opening “Monsters,” but even more so about the saccharine and somber “Bat Song,” wherein distant horns and trickling pianos and guitar instill an almost epic ambience, the vocal harmonies nestling the listener into a dreamy and vampiric tale of loneliness. “Manta Rays” stands out the most for its uniquely childlike qualities, the delightful lyrical delivery not unlike a twisted educational romp, complete with the repetitions of “I would like to ride one too.” Even with Bisker and Morris aided on the bass and drums by several guests, Super Natural History is no less intimate, though seems cinchier from its predecessor, which is fitting given the playfulness with which Charming Disaster approaches the subject matter this time around. Though not as overtly quirky as an Aurelio Voltaire, those with an ear for lighthearted gothic folk will likely enjoy this album.
Track list:

  1. Monsters
  2. Mold and the Metals
  3. Grimoire
  4. Hellebore
  5. Bat Song
  6. Disembodied Head
  7. Six Seeds
  8. Paris Green
  9. Manta Rays
  10. Wrong Way Home

Charming Disaster
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