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There’s a fair point to be made about instrumental artists that wear out their welcome after spending bars and bars of musical time building into what amounts to an epic wheeze. Artists who do it successfully tend to deliver artistic compositions rather than songs, forcing listeners to gaze down the barrel of redundancy for the better part of the time listening. Artists who choose to engage their listeners directly sans vocalist should, by virtue of that choice, be that much more cognizant of just where the hell the music is going and how they plan on taking it there. On his latest release, Metro-Boston area composer and instrumentalist, Charlie Terenzio manages what many often think is impossible for an instrumental project: to be all things to all people and successfully communicate a veritable slew of emotions and moods without a shred of vocal or lyric, and doing it in the shortest time possible.

Charlie Terenzio

The flow from bar to bar is part of what makes the single “Propaganda Smoothie” such an immersive listen, a perfectly executed creation of Charlie’s crushing and sensory-overwhelming performances, completed in under three minutes.

Yes, that may sound impossible for an epic rock instrumental, but it is exactly what Charlie Terenzio achieves on this single. The track is full of potent moments, showcasing the power of Charlie’s production, from his home studio, using Apple Pro Logic to grow the sound and reminding us exactly why he is perfectly competent at what he does.

You get the driven grooves, absorbing the punishing crush of the bottom end. You get the spiraling crunch of the guitar riffs, but also the reflecting sounds of the more introverted elements found in the keyboards. Terenzio is all about the balance found in his music, and which he has demonstrated that time and time again in the past.

As with any instrumental music, the appeal lies in the sheer strength of the songwriting. Charlie Terenzio never tries to be more than he is, but what he is, is truly triumphant on “Propaganda Smoothie”. Everything is perfectly calibrated, set up as such that we can see every moving part and fall in love with the music instantly because of its straightforwardness.

The avoiding of over-complexity in his instrumental music, is rather indicative of the greatness of Terenzio’s compositions. The fact that the song stays under the 3-minute mark, makes sure it feels more powerful, punchier, and more dynamic than many of those overdrawn rock symphonies that are dealt out by his peers.

There seems to also be a sense of purpose infused into the melody of this track, and probably explains why the song carries such a determined sense of identity and pace. It starts, it says what it wants to say, and it finishes, – leaving little time for error or pretentiousness.

Charlie Terenzio has created his best work yet, and he seems more focused and driven than ever before. “Propaganda Smoothie” definitively sounds like a Charlie Terenzio track, but every piece of the puzzle that makes up his sound has been strengthened here.

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