Some of the greatest music ever conceived has come from great pain, either personal or societal. For Me, Charles, the former is the groundwork behind which he has created not only his prior release, 2020’s ‘Like and Share’, but also his new EP Fine Isn’t Good, and this new single ‘White Pearl’. After loosing his mother at the age of sixteen, Charles Stooke set into motion a musical career that has so far proven to be prolific and experimental, but now he has set his sights on his own issues and experiences. This new song is just a taste of what has come from such a troubled place.
Charles sets the tone immediately. His heavily effected vocals and ominous distorted synths set the listener on edge instantaneously. The angular, lo-fi beat mixes gorgeously with the other fuzzy samples and glitchy, pitched vocal chops. Beneath the robotic overtones is a pretty melody, led by the monotonous bass line and Charles’ vocal melody. The cartoon sound effects after the first verse portion surprise but add a sense of relief to the track. It, along with the horror-esc music video, are rather unsettling, so moments such as this create a much needed levity.
When the instrumental middle eight explodes into a mishmash of almost avant-garde brass and future-pop glitches, the true vision of the song is revealed, in all its detuned glory. The vocals after this section don’t bring any sense of relief, but give the listener a final interesting use of vocal manipulation, beginning with pitched words, and ending in a cacophony of harmony and bright synths.
‘White Pearl’ isn’t an easy listen, but it’s a captivating one. Me, Charles has constructed a hauntingly beautiful piece of music, melding classic songwriting and modern production into a track that attracts something new with each listen. If his new EP Fine Isn’t Good continues to push the boundaries of alternative electronic music like this, then it will certainly prove to be a release worth waiting for.
Words: Ryan Bulbeck // Photo: Henry Mills
‘White Pearl’ is the first single to come from Me, Charles’ forthcoming EP, ‘Fine Isn’t Good’, out May 10th via Spinny Nights. Stream the track via Bandcamp.