From the very first note of the introductory tune “King’s Cup”, it’s easy to make snap judgments about Charlee Remitz’s debut album Bright White Trims. The Montana born pop princess basically delivers a piecemeal Taylor Swift tribute and even 80s pop idols with standard beatwork, the obligatory washes of keyboard and verse/chorus melodies practically screaming for the radio. After listening, you get the impression it’s a nice, serviceable pop track, but rather forgettable in a musical climate filled with many similar one hit wonders. You might feel that the remainder of the album will head in this direction alone.
But wait, “Fillin’ in for a Goddess” changes the game, draping subtle almost jazz-esque cocktail vocal melodies in a synth-y veneer with many shapeshifting production textures on every instrument and vocal line. Keyboard moans disguised as vocals speckle the intro (along with one of the album’s two instances of guitar) and all notions of dance music dissipate with the song weaving together a tapestry of keyboard enhanced, melodic soul. This is a totally strange approach when reexamining the first tune’s very “kiddie” oriented be-bop.
So what is even more interesting is when the album dips into a constant rap/r & b attack for the next four tracks, where heavily layered synth-work plays atop of programmed beats that are slightly obtuse for the pop arena. In fact, cuts like “Cake Eater,” “BMW,” the superbly naughty “Bitches & Ladders” and “Juice Season” are worthy of a parent advisory sticker while the music takes on a head-nodding, hip-hop shuck n’ jive that plods when it has to and picks up whenever it must. There are far too many tracks in this mold for certain, but it’s an experiment that does change the entire path the album takes. Of these songs, “Cake Eater” and “Bitches & Ladders” are the most saucy, fun n’ raunchy affairs, while the other two seem to want to showcase a harder edge while leaning slightly too far in the arena of by numbers pop. None of these songs are outright embarrassing, but some work better than the others do. The album ends in pop mode with the margarita sippin’ good time fun of “Stucco Houses” and the standout “Routines” which is like a better version of the opening track with some guitar thrown in for good measure.
Charlee Remitz is an interesting songwriting and given the proper time and backing to develop she should go far. Right now her music is a little too all over the place to be a complete success from the first note to the last. She experiments a little much too much throughout and the mid-album lull into same-y sounding rap tunes kind of drops the score a bit. Yet, there is something fascinating about watching this artist in the formative stages of her career. Remitz is willing to risks with her songwriting, making for a primal yet engaging slice of mercurial pop that is at least deserving of a cursory listener or two, if not more!
7 out of 10 stars.