Published: 06:00, 18 January 2021
A 90s Swale band have released their original demo tape on vinyl decades after it was made.
The Charms, who later changed their name to Jel, were big on the music scene in the early 90s and went on to have two LPs and several singles.
The Charms were Sheppey-based singer Andy Gray; Dave Crunden (guitar) from Teynham; bassist Jon Gower and drummer Neville Broad, both from Sittingbourne and Matt Brewer (Hammond organ) from Rochester.
After gathering a loyal local following and playing gigs in London, they spent time crafting the demo tape of eight tracks at Medway's Red Studios between1992 and 1993 with Graham Semark.
The tape garnered favour with the likes of East West and Sony records A&R men, and they went on, as Jel, to have a debut CD, All the Blinding Menace, recorded at Blah Street Studios, which was classed an album of the week, described as “a Brit pop peak" by the Sunday Express in 1996.
Almost three decades later, when lockdown came in 2020, the idea of a new release of original material was mooted.
Guitarist Dave Crunden said: "Me and Nev, the drummer, had been talking about releasing a few tracks on vinyl for a long time, especially Easy Now. So as the lockdown was boring us to tears and we had nothing better to do over the summer, it actually took off, rather than just be something that we’d save for a rainy day that never got further than a pub chat."
He added: "We took a while deciding on the tracks to put on the LP, then all of a sudden, it became obvious - release our first demo, that was recorded back in ’92 -’93 and was received by the industry with gusto when it first came out.
"The effort we put into the recordings really shows," he said. "It stands like a sonic giant over recordings made later in the band's career. Although the later recordings were made as Jel were still excellent, there was a certain magic in these first recordings."
As the original songs were recorded and mastered by Graham Semark, they went back to him at Cyclone Music to take on the final process of putting the original songs on to vinyl.
Thanks to the painstaking attention to detail during the original recordings, the mastering took just a day.
And it seems the release may have inspired more of a revival too.
"We want to promote the LP, plus it will be great to play again, especially some of these early Charms songs," said Dave. "It’s a bit like The Eagles - we’ve never split, we just took a long break. Saying that. we have always managed to do the odd few gigs every year. Who knows maybe there could even be a tour in 2022..."
The new record is in red translucent vinyl and just 250 copies are available.
It is available by emailing email@example.com and downloads are also available.