September 14, 2009
Oodles of Charm
2009 | Chocolate Brontosaurus
Do Brooklyn-based trio Schocholautte a favor: don’t judge their debut EP, Oodles of Charm (released this past March) by its first track, “Mercedes Benz.” Sure, the opening guitar line is catchy but “grating” would be a generous way to describe the vocals. Lead singer Michael P!’s unfortunate habit of stretching out his vowels and stumbling through rhyme schemes is as awkward as it is earnest.
Thankfully though, Michael P! (the band goes by stage names, like “Captain K” and, uh, “Artie”) tones it down as the record progresses. His singing goes from being off-putting and irritating to appropriate and endearing. He yelps “LOL!” (no, seriously) to transition from chorus to verse in the opening track, but by centerpiece “Haley, Please” Michael P! charms, even with a line as simple and sappy as “Haley Jane/ That New York moon is full/ I know you wished everything could be made so beautiful.”
Schocholautte may not necessarily have anything new to say – Oodles’ primary themes are romance and relationships – but at least the band has fun saying it. The slinky bass line on “Spin the Bottle” complements the speak-singing about American Apparel spandex. Even though “Gone” and “Swimming Out” both have pretty much the same chorus (“La, la, la” on the former, “Ba, ba, ba” on the latter) the bouncy guitar on “Gone” makes sure the cliché is too enjoyable to feel like filler, while Michael P!’s effective inflections on “Swimming Out” keep that song shuffling forward. These tunes may not be innovative, but they’re definitely energetic.
Oodles of Charm builds to a climactic finish with its closing track, “Water on the Coast.” Simple strumming, steady drumming, and soft singing are slowly washed over by tense strings, dizzying distortion, and skillful screaming. It’s an unexpected cohesion, especially from a band that five songs earlier relied on AIM-speak to act as a bridge.
by Kyle McGovern