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Track Review: Charalambides ‘True Love’

Who better to offer a meditation on love than two musicians who were once married?

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Tom and Christina. (Image: Bandcamp)

A dreamy, at times meandering, 10-minute song from Charalambides, “True Love” is a sonic exploration of self-expression in true avant-garde form. Sounding like a more abstract Low and a less melodic Dirty Beaches, the song captures a distinctly wordless set of emotions that stems from the elusive “true” love.

Charalambides is comprised of once-married — but now divorced — musical duo Tom and Christina Carter. Their latest record under the Charalambides moniker, aptly titled Tom and Christina Carter, and was released on Drawing Rooming Records last month, and is the first full record from the pair since 2007’s Likeness.

“True Love” is a stripped-down, blues-tinged improvisation featuring only two instruments: An electric guitar with no pedals or noticeable effects added, which serves as the undercurrent to the tune. Christina’s mournful vocals sit atop that minimal guitar noodling. Christina’s wailing cries are a pure expression of emotion yet contain no discernible lyrics — just her warbling voice.

Due to the lack of words, it’s hard to determine just how much of “True Love” is autobiographical, but Christina’s pained vocals capture a raw snapshot of the pain that stems from falling in, and out, of love.

It’s admirable to listen to two musicians, who were once married, continue to collaborate. It’s even more awe-inspiring that these two were able to set aside their past in order to create a song about true love. And not just any song, but a song that is filled with such palpable pain, a song shrouded in such unarticulated and complex emotions, that the absence of lyrics is frustrating.

But, the lack of words to describe “True Love” within the song itself only adds another layer of artistic intention and mystery. After all, true love is, at its core, impossible to articulate with something as simple as words.

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Padideh is a recent graduate from the University of Colorado Denver and currently an music writing intern at 303 Magazine. She likes writing about musicians who are pushing the boundaries of experimental electronic music.

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