Charlie Dore – Like Animals

Album Review | Black Ink Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson

Like Animals is the tenth album by Charlie Dore, one of our most underrated songwriters and criminally overlooked singers of our times. Looking forward to a new Charlie Dore release has become an eagerly anticipated pursuit. Like Animals doesn’t disappoint, in fact, it’s currently on it’s ninth play through. Once again the songs are written in collaboration, predominantly with long time musical partner Julian Littman and in the case of “A Hundred Miles of Nothing”, a duet with The Magic Numbers’ Michele Stodart.

The songs play out like hidden dramas, with ingrained humour and subtlety and from the vantage point of wisdom, whether meditating of our powerful puppeteers (there’s a growing list to choose from), to the almost forgotten names from our past, and the inherent magic those names conjure, again, there’s a list.  “Ray and Lisa, Lisa and Joe” gets to the point and saves the trawl through Greene, Flaubert and Tolstoy to bring us the essence of the affair in just under four minutes, while “Rivers of Cortisol” brings us closer to how Charlie Dore ticks.  The songs could be poems with no need for further embellishment, yet the performances and arrangements perfectly bring these meditations alive, not to mention the spangles and adornments courtesy of Jackie Oates’ viola, Jessie May Smart’s violin and Quentin Collins’ flugelhorn, each of which effectively adds to the polish that places Little Animals at the very top of the Northern Sky playlist.

Choice Track: Collateral (NSV 503)