Album Review/ Charlie Cunningham - Permanent Way


By Lauren Paddison, Second Year Music

An artist, who by his own admission, has taken the dive into a career of instability in order to do something worthwhile.

After spending two years in the south of Spain solidifying his love for guitar and music, indie folk songwriter, Charlie Cunningham returned to Britain to release a string of EPs. These culminated in his 2017 album ‘Lines’ that hit streaming platforms with a resounding success. Now, with his second LP, ‘Permanent Way’ Cunningham is back. Bigger and bolder than ever. The gentle acoustic troubadour has unfurled and stretched his artistic wings to create a free and expansive record. An utterly transformative album.

On this album, the Oxford based singer-songwriter has truly poured all his efforts.  His unique use of strings amongst a body of soothing synths helps invent a new and unique soundscape into which he inputs his softly sung narratives. Cunningham manages to create, with his nylon stings, the same ambiance and vibrancy of steel. His lyrics are meditative without being intrusive, and his melodies have the ability to calm and excite in the same capacity. Whether you come to this album with a clear mind or one that needs untangling, you will certainly be catered for.

The album evolves steadily, and rarely diverts from the gentle indie folk glimmers that Cunningham has spent years refining. However, a subtle Spanish and flamenco influence breaks this trend as Cunningham can be heard exploring new terrain. This can be heard on tracks such as ‘Interlude (Tango)’ and ‘Bite’. Such songs balance nicely with the peaceful tranquility of ‘Hundred Times’. Particular highlights come from songs such as ‘Don’t Go Far’, a serene reminder of our loved ones and ‘Different Spaces’ which begs the listener to ‘live every last bit’ of their lives. It ends almost perfectly, with ‘Stuck’ being an anthem that is left circling our heads; a dutiful end to the musical ventures of trying to make sense of ourselves. Every song has a story, and Cunningham has made it his task to tell them.