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Articles Home » 2000 Articles » Churchills, The - 2000 You Are Here
 
Churchills, The - 2000 You Are Here


THE CHURCHILLS - YOU ARE HERE (2000, ABRUPT/UNIVERSAL)
Ron Haney - vocals, guitar
Kim Henry - guitar, vocals
Bart Schoudel - bass
Phil Bloom - drums


Background
After impressing with their indy debut 'Magnifique 300' a few years back, New York based The Churchills have made the step up to a major label for their new release 'You Are Here' and the end result is surprisingly good. The Churchills' transition to Universal has seen the band record an album positively brimming with clever pop sensibilities, gorgeous melodies and solid playing - without sanitising aspects of their sound for maximum commercial appeal. If anything, 'You Are Here' is more diverse, more learned and more experimental than its predecessor.

The Songs
Opening track 'Beautiful' has been selected as first single yet despite its quality it is not an obvious choice. Something of a grower, this mid tempo tune boasts impressive guitar work from Kim Henry and a passionate vocal from Ron Haney but makes a surprising choice as lead off tune. The jangle-pop of the quite magnificent 'Gonna Take A Lot To Stay' or the re-hashed 'Everybody Gets What They Deserve' from 'Magnifique 300' would be my choices. The former displays the band's Beach Boys influences wrapped around an instantly addictive chorus, while the delicate piano, huge hookline and stirring vocal of the latter makes the re-working a justified effort. Guitarist Kim Henry demonstrates her own vocal talents on the excellent 'Headstrong' which has a Garbage feel to it, while the refreshing mix of styles continues on the Weezer-esque 'Disposable'. Penned by bassist Bart Schoudel, this is one of the best tracks on offer and shows how much The Churchills have benefited by not recording a whole album of 'Everybody..' clones or recycling pop cliches. It seems the whole band are comfortable in filling a variety of roles, as the twin vocal of Haney and Henry demonstrates on album closer 'Maybe Make Me OK' and on another contender for future single, 'Running In Circles'. Check out the latter if infuriatingly addictive pop is your taste. You won't be disappointed. The album is not totally without fault though. Songs like the waltzy twaddle of 'Cars' and the plodding banality of 'Ex #1 Fan' don't really hit the target, and lyrically the band are prone to the odd juvenile turn of phrase. Obviously a big bucks advance means big bucks production and co producers Steve Dudas and Mark Hart (Crowded House) twiddle the knobs to such an extent that sometimes the embellishments are a little overpowering. Thankfully Haney's voice doesn't get lost in the mix but a little bit of the band's dynamism certainly does.

In Summary
Overall, 'You Are Here' is an endearing and pleasantly diverse pop-rock record. Majors are not always renowned for their patience, but let's just hope Universal has the savvy to recognise the talent they have at their disposal if the band don't initially set radio playlists alight, because on the evidence of this release, we should be hearing a lot more from these guys in the future.

URL: www.thechurchills.net

Track Listing:
01 Beautiful (Coulda Woulda)
02 Ex #1 Fan
03 Headstrong
04 Everybody Gets What They Deserve
05 Disposable
06 Gonna Take A Lot To Stay
07 Cars
08 Running In Circles
09 Wrong Side Of Bed
10 Cold As Steel
11 Mysticated Girl
12 Maybe Make Me Okay

Related Articles:

Churchills, The - 2000 You Are Here


Churchills, The - Interview with Ron Haney (Nov 2000)


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