Charm Offensive (Introverse Media LTD. 2021)
For the past twenty-five years, Dw Dunphy has been actively engaged in music, both as a member of bands and as a solo act. Based in Red Bank, New Jersey, the singer, songwriter and multi-diversified instrumentalist has produced quite a hefty discography at this point, with Charm Offensive dialing in as his latest album.
Rich with freedom and vitality, Charm Offensive generates a genre-bending effect that succeeds at all angles. The first piece on the album, The False Clairvoyant, projects a hymn-like feel accented by angelic Association-styled harmonies, while the closing track, Ocean Floor, stands as the ultimate grand finale. Checking in at nearly ten minutes in length, the epic endeavor stages a compelling ballet of mood-altering movements. A lush and hypnotic arrangement gives way to urgent rhythms ticking with intensity, swelling into a space age symphony. Floating and flourishing with beauty, Ocean Floor delivers surprises at every crook and crevice.
Inbetween The False Clairvoyant and Ocean Floor, there’s the hooky hard rock of (I’m Not Here To Be) Your Conscience, the crushing metal-flavored Down In The Valley and Tonight (I Want To Be Wrong), a stark and strummy folk number. Framed of shimmering threads and sweetened melodies, Things We Say exudes echoes of eighties synth pop, and Crime Scene Reporter is molded of a bare-boned folk format. A somber tenor envelopes the atmospheric applications of Newborn Orphan and What Trenton Breaks The River Takes is energized by a thudding mechanical groove.
Charm Offensive indeed presents an interesting selection of musical fashions. Covering folk, choral pop and the kind of experimental progressive rock sounds practiced by bands like Pink Floyd and Queensryche, the album weaves in and out with varied sonic visages.
On a lyrical level, Dw’s literate prose tends to lean towards the spiritual and philosophical side of the fence, but are decidedly open for translation. If you are not already a fan of Dw Dunphy, you surely will be after hearing this inspired effort.