1 9 9 5 should have been a pretty good year for Deryck Charles: it was when he released his
debut CD Bitterness and Beauty with G e r m a n y s Zuma Records. I was working on some songs with Greg Vincent of Puppethead, and he suggested sending some material to Michael at Zuma,
mentions Deryck in typically candid mode. Bitterness and Beauty as the title suggests, had a melancholy quality, flitting between light and dark, at times joyous, but often with a dark undertone to the proceedings. It
must have done the trick, however: Michael from Zuma was suitably impressed enough to offer Deryck a deal on Zumas subsidiary, Red River. N o w, after nearly five years, hes back again with a new CD, Sweetheart Surgery.
More pain and anguish Deryck? Sweetheart Surgery was actually the name of one of the songs that didnt make it onto the CD, but seemed to sum up the lyrical content overall... its a result of a relationship I am involved
in with my girlfriend who lives in Buenos Aires. We spend a lot of time apart, not by choice...
He was formally trained as a classical pianist
and completed a jazz degree at University, before starting to write his own music in bands such as Morning Glory and Garden Path before pursuing his solo career, around the time of the Zuma deal. In that time he also
picked up the guitar, mandolin and accordion. Deryck is an afficianado of the three-minute pop song, citing some of his influences as being Neil Finn of Crowded House fame and Elvis Costello, though upon listening one
can discern traces of the Beach Boys and Crosby, Stills and Nash in the layered vocal harmonies and perhaps more recently the French duo Air or Massive Attack in the sweeping synth textures. Being primarily a keyboard
player, keys dominate the album, though the occaisional song such as Airports has an almost folky quality, with its acoustic guitar and accordian
refrain. Sweet Heart Surgery starts off where Bitterness and Beauty ended:tales of loneliness, sadness: Deryck is the the
first one to admit this: “the songs in various form deal with the act of dealing how a relationship might end be it through circumstances or choice.” Hence track six on the album, Sad and Lonely Man? Its slightly
autobiographical in that a friend once told me thats what I would be one day if I did not enjoy the moment a little more. Its about someone who spends too much time searching for answers and the perfect partner and
wakes up to find that life has passed him and that he is alone.... a happy song though! he adds, to assure us that its not all doom and gloom. But how does a song about an astronaut (Buzz Aldrin Blues) fit into the
scheme of things? Harkings back to David Bowie? He grins: No, not quite... I was always fascinated by how it was decided who was going to be the first man on the moon. Did they toss a coin? Buzz Aldrin lost. It was a
good metaphor to describe being in love with someone who loves someone else. The sense of being beaten to what you consider should rightfully be yours.
Sweetheart Surgery is now available on Red River