The band formerly known as Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs are now just The Voyeurs. The bands second album takes in the rail networks of Eastern Europe and a transvestite bar in Limehouse in East London. Rhythmic inspiration comes from both The Glitter Band and the Berlin-fermented pulse of Iggy Pops The Idiot album.
The Voyeurs are based in London, but drummer Samir Eskanda was born in the Middle East. Frontman Charlie Boyers childhood was spent in the Forest of Dean, where he went to the same school once attended by the sainted hit-maker and recording-studio revolutionary Joe Meek. Charlie says that Meek was a bit of celebrity for all the little freaks at school wed often listen to Telstar at the right time of an evening… Wow! Can pop-music hot-housing get any better? Certainly Meeks spirit of adventure is audible in the opening track on the The Voyeurs new album, Rhubarb Rhubarb. Train To Minsk is the track that draws on the idiot-savant wunder-chug of The Glitter Band and Iggy Pop. The lyrics range from Belarus to Japan.
Its about the idea of just getting to somewhere else, says Charlie. The new album is about interesting sounds and interesting stories. Some parts are lush and almost orchestral, with Mellotron-type sound effects. Other parts are stripped back to almost nothing. Its a studio record where the first album was a live record.
The band released their debut album, Clarietta, in 2013 a British revision of Jonathan Richman and Television, but with its underlying UK character lit up by hints of the Buzzcocks and Syd Barrett. The album was recorded by Edwyn Collins, singer/songwriter and producer, and much-loved laird of the expansive Orange Juice estates.
Rhubarb Rhubarb was played by the same people as the bands debut album: Charlie Boyer (vocals, guitar), Danny Stead (bass), Sam Davies (guitar), Samir Eskanda (drums) and Ross Kristian (keyboards). But while the personnel stays constant the song does not remain the same. Charlie says that if the debut album had a spiritual home in New York City, the new LP has its heart in London. A lot of the album is about characters, he says. There are a lot of domestic themes sometimes a story about a boy and a girl, with maybe some of the characters moving from song to song. Its more of an English record where showtunes and a sense of humour enter the picture, moving on from simple gutter rock.
The new album has a colder, darker feeling than the first one, says Charlie. One of my favourite records is Lou Reeds Berlin, which swings between a cold starkness and a kind of brilliant pomposity. We wanted to have those two elements really stripped-down moments of just tambourine alongside ten layers of harmonised guitar.
Theres a lot of noise around in the world today, says Charlie. I was thinking of the idea of making noise but not really saying anything. The idea of rhubarb, rhubarb is unscripted background conversation in plays and on television. Today people are commenting on things all the time, commenting in new ways Twitter and things. But a lot of its just more background, another kind of rhubarb, rhubarb…
At time of writing The Voyeurs are taking their bold new noise across Europe out with Fat White Family from Oslo to Berlin, Eindhoven to Prague.
1. Train To Minsk
2. Pete The Pugilist
4. The Smiling Loon
5. Say You Love Him (And Choke)
6. England Sings Rhubarb Rhubarb
7. Rhubarb Rhubarb
8. Damp Walls
9. May Will You Stop
10. French Fancy
EU Tour Dates
16 Sep – Glasgow, UK – Art School *
17 Sep – Manchester, UK – Sound Control *
18 Sep – London, UK – Electric Ballroom *
24 Oct – Leicester, UK – What Became Of Us Festival
25 Oct – Birmingham, UK – All Years Leaving Festival
11 Nov – Brighton, UK – The Hope
12 Nov – Reading, UK – FaceBar
13 Nov – Sheffield, UK – The Harley
14 Nov – Leeds, UK – Nation of Shopkeepers
17 Nov – Carlisle, UK – The Brickyard
18 Nov – Liverpool, UK – Shipping Forecast
19 Nov – York, UK – Duchess
20 Nov – London, Red Gallery
21 Nov – Bedford, UK – Holy Molys (Esquires)
22 Nov – Southampton, UK – Lennons
24 Nov – Bristol, UK – Louisiana
25 Nov – Cardiff, UK – Clwb Ifor Bach (downstairs)
26 Nov – Leamington Spa, UK – Zephyr Lounge
* with Fat White Family