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Monday, August 15 2011 00:00

VICTORIAN HALLS - CHARLATAN (Album Review)

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victorianhallscoverThere's something slightly evil brewing just beneath the surface of CHARLATAN, the Victory Records debut from Chicago's VICTORIAN HALLS. Stealthily working it's way underneath the danceable pop-rock hooks is a twisted new-wave groove of electronic adrenaline that fuels the album to unexpected heights. In fact, not since THE FAINT released DANSE MACABRE in 2001 has a band in this sonic corner gotten the mix this right.

Girls Kiss Girls welcomes listeners' ears with just enough of the off-kilter vocals to hook, right before blasting into a straight-up rock chorus followed-up by a thumping dance groove. Burn Me Up Like A Wax-Kissed Letteris by far one of the heaviest songs to present itself, not in a metallic way - but in the way that Refused used to punish their instruments for the sonic pleasures of their audience. A Crush is a Crush may not be the strongest track on the album, but it's the most tailor-made for the mainstream and a smart choice for the first single from this set.

Into the second half of CHARLATAN there's quality garage-rock riffage like the Jon Spencer-esque swagger ofLa Di Da, along with a dash of the vaudeville stylings that infected the works of Creature Feature and Panic at the Disco, as evident on tracks like Dear, This is Desperate.

Bottom Line: VICTORIAN HALLS have cherry-picked the finest ingredients from the worlds of post-punk, new-wave, and indie rock to create a tasty cocktail that could easily lead to a quick addiction.

Rating: 4/5

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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