Album Review: Edward Murphy – Charlie Slick
Edward Murphy, the fourth self-released full-length from Ann Arbor ‘s Charlie Slick, is mostly a 30-minute synth-pop dance party, but it’s also a declaration of sexual maturity. “Mature” not necessarily being the operative word— the album is riddled with subtle and not so subtle innuendos related to Slick’s virility. On “I’m A Boy” he proclaims, “I’m a Boy” (“I like to go to the hardware store/ I like to touch the metal and touch the wood”). On “Sushi Party” he let’s us know, “I’m a sushi man” (“Some guys they like big hunks of meat/ that’s fine, but not my specialty”). And on “Coconut Man”, he announces, “I’m a coconut man”. I’m not entirely sure what that last one means, but let’s all agree there’s something inherently sexual about coconuts.
Not that being a grown up is without growing pains. Slick bemoans adult limitations on “Too Busy for Love”. And “Allan” is a love letter to a childhood best friend who moved away. “Moments” is the real soft spot on the record, a slightly enigmatic coming of age story musing about possessions being permanent. Slick sings about pawning things off to thrift stores to be loved by someone else, and a photo of him holding a plastic toy: “My father is behind the camera/ oh, I wonder if he understands?/ He is responsible for storing the image that defines me as a man”.
Compared to the partying energy of his live show (dancing, confetti, bubble machines, and dancing hipsters, I’m told) the record is sparse, just Charlie’s voice accompanied by Gameboy beeps and fake handclaps— the old-school 80’s nostalgia working particularly well paired with the reminiscent lyrics. What his songs lack in instrumental complexity, they have in spirit. Apparently all it takes to start a dance party are some vintage synthesizers and a sex drive.