Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Brett Allen and Nick Luca at New Monkey Studio
It seems, at times, that love isnt really what anyones really searching for during their short time here. Its okay and all, but when we boil it all down, isnt it really the companionship thats above all else far grander and considerably more guarded and cherished? A love based as it is on multiple parts of passion and temperamental emotions as it goes, couldnt be any more dicey or risky. Its what leads perfectly happy people into perfectly dysfunctional situations, where a love sprung into a marriage and possibly into offspring and then something wore off and the love, as it was originally discovered, is nothing more than ash and this, this thing isnt working any longer -- and thats when it all gets messy. But its the thought of companionship, someone that you need to feel around you, that goes beyond mere love, or the feeling weve come to associate with that word, as shiny and proud as it tries to come across as. Los Angeles songwriter Charlie Wadhams, a terrifically retro writer and a young man with such a gifted sense of sentimentality that never blows over into something that could be taken as clunky or inauthentic, brings everything back to this very comfortable sense of being with someone for all the right reasons, for all the comfortable reasons and it has everything to do with companionship. Wadhams sings with a timeless affinity for the small of a womans back, the slight curves of bare calves, the sweet scent of shampoo drafting off of a passerby and the always touching belief in the magic filling a moonlit night in the company of someone youd die for. There is a depth of appreciation for the women in the songs that are on his debut full-length, Free Up Your Schedule, and yet those sentiments are even more prominent and well-executed on the three newer songs that hes recorded here (or rather with us at New Monkey Studio in Van Nuys, California, in October of last year) for the first time. He and his incredible three-piece arrived at the studio, in the middle of the afternoon, on a workday, with a six-pack dangling All-American-like, Midwestern-Norman Rockwell-esque, by a finger, from an emptied plastic ring. They sewed together simple, but unavoidably catchy harmonies and yet it was the pure writing chops that Wadhams so deftly displayed that were the kicker and the essential reason that we found ourselves falling madly for these songs. Hes cool like a crooner, standing up there with a cheap, dog-tagged chain hanging down on top of a sternum covered in manly hair, with a shirt opened up one button too many for most people, but just precisely enough for him and what he seems to ooze. Wadhams gives us infatuation thats not overbearing. He gives us hunger for another body without it ever dipping into desperateness, or any kind of realm of pathetic need or lust. These are songs built around the healthiest kind of need: the need to be near someone out of sheer joyousness. He sings so romantically about women and friends, making his words sound as if theyd be the greatest offering of flattery that anyone could ever have bestowed upon them and yet never feel the need to blush. He sings on Growing Old, Every time I picture growing old, I want you there dancing with me, and if youre currently with someone that makes you feel this way, you want to play this song for them immediately and just say, Exactly. What he said. Its enough and youre bound to never do any better job at communicating the same thing.