Album Review: Charlie Simpson – Young Pilgrim

By on Monday, 8th August 2011 at 12:00 pm

First Charlie Simpson sold shed loads of records with Busted. Next he realised his dreams in post-hardcore outfit Fightstar. And now he has decided that the next step in his musical evolution is, surprise, surprise… a solo record. What everyone is doing it these days. Simpson will always be remembered for those days when he jumped around singing about the ‘Year 3000,’ the Air Hostess’ and of course the fact that he was the one with the dashingly bushy eyebrows. Yet it seems that Simpson will continue to attempt to erase his boy band heritage with yet another attempt at breaking the charts. I was a big fan of Fightstar but in all honesty, they were never going to be anything more than a Busted side project to casual observers.

‘Young Pilgrim’ is Charlie Simpson’s debut solo effort and while it has been lengthy in production, it does have its merits. While I expected it to follow the same template that Fightstar used (known for their less heavy songs), it has surprised me in its musical brilliance. Unfortunately, the lyrics are discernibly poor: I mean, “my heart grows to the size of an orchid”? Sorry Charlie, I’m not buying it.

The two singles released ‘Down Down Down’ may not have assaulted the charts as Simpson would have hoped, while the fate of ‘Parachutes’ (video below) will be found out soon. These two singles are the stand out tracks on the record. As said, they are lacking in lyrical creativity, but they are catchy and stick in your head, and that’s where this record finds its strengths. Each song, from the whimsical ‘All at Once’ to the morbid ‘Cemetery’, has the power to resonate inside your brain. This record falls down at the fact that it is too long. As an acoustic record, you begin to feel that when you are nearing the end of what would work in an EP length that ideas are being recycled. Seven songs would have been enough on this offering from Simpson, and the overbearing length could be the downfall of this piece.


While this first offering does have its merits, it’s nothing spectacular, it is an acoustic record that offers catchy songs with a few good choruses. However, the standard was set for acoustic records last year with Bombay Bicycle Club’s ‘Flaws’ (review here) and Simpson has a long way to go before he reaches that kind of level.


Charlie Simpson’s debut solo album, ‘Young Pilgrim’, will be released in a week (15 August) on PIAS. He goes on tour in the UK in October.

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