Charlotte – Medusa Groove (2010)

Charlotte – Medusa Groove (2010, Eonian Records)

  1. Medusa Groove
  2. Woman Behind The Eyes
  3. Siren
  4. Little Devils
  5. Miss Necrophilia
  6. She Get It Up
  7. Got Love On The Line
  8. Changes
  9. Roadhouse Of Love
  10. Ocean Of Love And Mercy
  11. Invisible Man
  12. All Tied Up

Band Lineup:
Eric Ganz – Lead Vocals
Nick DiBacco – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Vinnie Cacciotti – Guitars
Chris Colovas – Bass & Backing Vocals
Eric D. Brewton – Drums & Backing Vocals

Executive Producer: Stephen Craig

Country: USA

Total Time = 45:54

Charlotte MySpace page
Eonian Records
Eonian Records MySpace page

It seems that every year more and more previously unreleased albums from long lost bands of the ’80s get properly released. Such is the case of Los Angeles, California Hard Rock band Charlotte. The band was a fixture in the famous clubs of the Sunset Strip in the late ’80s but refused to compromise their musical integrity to secure a deal with a major label. As the ’90s dawned, and the popularity of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal waned, Charlotte disbanded and their music never got properly released…..until now. Fast forward to 2010 and reissue label Eonian Records has taken great care in releasing Charlotte’s first official album, MEDUSA GROOVE.

The songs on MEDUSA GROOVE are a collection that were mainly written between 1988 – 1992 with a few touched up in 2009 for this release. All the songs are classic ’80s Hard Rock that take influences from some of the bigger bands of the era like Dokken, Great White, Kix, The Cult and Led Zeppelin clones Kingdom Come. You can definitely hear that Blues base that many Hard Rock bands in the ’80s tried to emulate so the underlying musical roots are pure ’70s Rock from the likes of Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith. This Blues base give Charlotte’s songs an attitude and rock star swagger and really shows off the potential these guys had at the time. The title track opens the record and it’s a hypnotic Rock song that emulates the title, it has that feel of snakes in rhythm. ‘Woman Behind The Eyes’ continues the cool mid-tempo groove Charlotte has going with a huge Great White influence, lead singer Eric Ganz sounds a lot like Jack Russell on this track and the song really captures some of Great White’s quieter moments. Ganz does another chameleon performance on ‘Siren’ that pushes him in Ian Astbury’s (The Cult) direction. ‘Siren’ sounds a lot like The Cult due to the vocal but the song has a good Hard Rock sound that’s almost danceable.

One of the best songs of the album is ‘Little Devils’, a song that draws directly from Led Zeppelin. I’m not a huge Zeppelin fan, I like them don’t get me wrong but I have been bombarded with their music for 30 years so I’m a little tired of them. Kingdom Come straight up just copied Zeppelin but Charlotte actually builds on the Zep Blues basics and creates a masterpiece. Ganz again shifts his voice to fit the music so he sounds just like Robert Plant but what really makes the song is the guitar work from both Vinnie Cacciotti and Nick DiBacco. These guys really capture that Jimmy Page sound that blends power with more subtle tones, very thick ’70s riffs. Another favorite is the sleazy ‘Miss Necrophelia’, a song that reminds me a little of Skid Row because it’s heavy but retains that big ’80s Hard Rock sound with a very cool groove. More hard party rocking follows with the faster ‘She Get It Up’, typical ’80s Metal fare, and the Bon Jovi inspired ‘Got Love On The Line’ complete with talk-box! It’s definitely more sleazy and fun than anything Jon and the boys have released in two decades so Charlotte gets the upper hand.

Mixing things up a bit, the band delivers a cool ballad with ‘Changes’. You can hear that Tesla vibe with the quiet acoustic guitars backing a smooth vocal, definitely one of the best ballads I’ve heard this year and one of the best tracks on the record. ‘Roadhouse Of Love’ gets things jumping again and would definitely be a crowd favorite with it’s different tempos, catchy chorus and solid soloing…..basically another Hard Rock feast. I’m not really sure how to approach ‘Ocean Of Love And Mercy’, it’s a melodic mid-tempo song that has some unexpected saxophone running through it to make it sound like early ’80s Pop. There’s a groove here though so the song sounds like it has a Great White influence to it but it seems just a bit out of place to me. ‘Invisible Man’ moves back into the more uptempo blues-based, gritty Hard Rock with some tasty soloing while ‘All Tied Up’ is one of the best Dokken songs that Dokken never released! Eric Ganz really has Don Dokken down cold and sounds just like him here…..I’m not saying Ganz is a copycat, I’m saying the guy is a solid singer that draws different influences. I think the background vocals also add to the Dokken-esque nature of the song.

Bottom Line:
I love it when I get my hands on an excellent album from a band that never made it big  or got signed to a label back in the day, Eonian Records has definitely unearthed a solid gem here with Charlotte’s MEDUSA GROOVE. You have to wonder how a band like this falls through the cracks and doesn’t get signed, especially when their material is excellent. All the songs are top quality and definitely fit in both with the late ’80s/early ’90s era when it was recorded but also the current state of the scene where a lot of bands are going back to that classic Hard Rock sound. Call it retro, call it dated but you definitely have to call it good and that’s exactly what MEDUSA GROOVE is…..good. Too bad it took close to 20 years before the album saw the light of day, it’s definitely worth the time and effort to check out.

Favorite Songs:
‘Little Devils’, ‘Miss Necrophelia’, ‘She Get It Up’, ‘Changes’, ‘All Tied Up’

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