Charley Stone – Does She Mention Me? (self-released)

Charley Stone – Does She Mention Me? (self-released)

Created during a month-long run of ‘song ideas’ intended for a lockdown album, prolific guitarist Charley Stone has released alt-rock track Does She Mention Me?

Charley StoneArtist: Charley Stone
Track: Does She Mention Me?
Label: Self-released
Released: 2 October 2020
Find it: Bandcamp | Spotify

This is a strange liminal space we’re living in; between the end of something and the moving on. A threshold we’re as yet unable or unwilling to move forward from, and finding we have no way back however deep the yearning. Everything is the same, but it’s all completely different. We are suspended and still time creeps or races forward by turns. The new reality forming looks pretty bleak and what you need is to know, even while alone, is that you’re not the only one waiting in the uncertain atmosphere of this curious place.

It is, in some ways, not unlike the end of a relationship. Here we leave the normality and freedom of life before, and are forced to hang in this transition toward some time, some space, potentially more desolate, more lonely. Does She Mention Me? from Charley Stone (of Salad, Desperate Journalist, Gay Dad, The Fallen Women and…well…all the bands really) soundtracks this liminal state – regardless of what placed us in it – rather well.

With the quiet insistence of late night thoughts it questions, guitar gently blooming into the open spaces and filling the voids with warmth, as much of a suggestion of orchestrated pop as a solo effort could possibly make. For the most part it’s voice not guitar which leads here, a subtle restrained quality perhaps a product of the DIY recording but fitting the reluctance and compulsion of the lyrics, it underlines the keening of the chorus beautifully drawing the anticipation and emotion upwards.

‘I’ll walk across the capital to find a way / to new realities / the palace in the north / the south / across the binary’

Coming from a near-month-long run of ‘song ideas’ Does She Mention Me? isn’t intended for the eventual album, End Times, coming from that songwriting period. As one of 55 ideas not making the 33 track long list for that collection it hints at something quite special germinating – if this is what is a delicate side-shoot blooming early, what velvet beauty is there still waiting to unfurl for us?

Delicate, the track retains a sense of innocence as much from the solitary DIY set-up as anything else, and yet it also conveys the strength of somewhat obsessional thoughts and the slowly dissipating energy of becoming stranger when once you were intimate, of being on the outside still yearning for the sanctuary now closed off. There’s potential here for a full band recording to add colour and swell the gentle chorus toward an alt-pop storm, but as a sketch this track uses subtlety to perfectly carve space.

Does She Mention Me? is out now digitally. Artwork is also by Charley Stone and her work, reminiscent of David Shrigley, is well worth checking out on the dedicated Instagram.

Find Charley Stone: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Spotify | Bandcamp

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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