Charley Davis - Vocals, guitars, Theremin & Keyboards
Eddie Owen - Guitars, keyboards, Mandolin & Vocals
Michael Carpenter - Drums, Percussion, Keyboards & Vocals
Bob Susnjara - Bass Guitar and Vocals
"Forever & Today" was recorded and mixed by Michael Carpenter at Stagefright studios between June 2000 and November 2002.
The Richies came together early in 2000 with the demise of Charley\'s former band The Stereos. Charley started arranging some simple ideas for new tunes with the aid of friend Eddie Owen of Sydney\'s The Pyramidiacs, (their mutual admiration for all things "Filthy, Rich & Catflap" provided the inspiration for their new bands title).
The new melodic tunes that evolved were a far cry from the work of The Stereos who practically verged on hard rock territory. Upon completion of a hand-full of songs, they enticed Michael Carpenter also of The Pyramidiacs and Bob Susnjara (formerly of the same band) to complete the line up. With the long history of collaboration between these three new members, (and the fact that the record was also engineered and produced by Michael Carpenter at his own Stagefright Studios), Charley\'s job was never going to be difficult, (it has been said that Bob, Eddie & Mick can sing immaculate harmonies in their sleep).
The only minor problem for The Richies was the members\' demanding schedules. Firstly came The Pyramidiacs tours of Europe & secondly, Michael Carpenter\'s own touring and studio commitments. The result being that the album took two & a half years to complete. The positive side to this is that the band was left with no regrets with the finished product.
Despite the humble beginnings of songs on The Richies debut long player "Forever & Today", they have quickly manifested themselves into a coherent and colourfully coloured landscape of sounds & melodies.
01. Fallen Stars
02. Up & Out
03. Every Little Thing
04. I wanna make it with you
05. I Won\'t give in
06. My Love is true
07. I do
08. Little Petty things
09. Today (Part 1)
10. Little Charms
11. You fill me up
12. Oh no, Okay
13. Today (Part 2)
Melbourne label Popboomerang Records is beginning to make waves in the pop underground with a slew of impressive releases in the last couple of months. The Richies Forever & Today is no exception.
Formed around the nucleus of Charley (ex Steroes) Davis and rounded off by the proven talent of Michael Carpenter (who also produced, engineered & mixed the whole shebang!) Eddie Owen & Bob Sunsjara. The Richies is a pop lover's dream come true!
Davis's songwriting never strays far from the power pop prescription with jangling guitars, contagious tunes, pleasing harmonies dominant and cool Beatlesesque vibe throughout. I mean, songs like the inspired "My Love Is True," the vibrant "I Wanna Make It With You," the dynamic "Little Pretty Things" and the puncy "Oh, No Okay" will have fans of the Fab Four (pre-psychadelic era) leaping for joy!
And for those in the know, the echos of such power pop luminaries as Teenage Fanclub, the Beatifics, Velvet Crush, and yes Big Star and Badfinger, found unashamedly in Forever & Today indicates the wealth and weight of classic pop history contained in the 40 off minutes of sheer listening pleasure.
Bucketful Of Brains Issue 66
3 years in the making the debut Richies CD was well worth the wait. Power Pop at it’s best with moments that bring to Mind Cheap Trick, Jeremy & The Raspberries. The main thing that might throw people off from this band is that the vocals are very unique. The vocal reminds me of ther Smoking Popes at times, and that could be what sets this apart at the same time from the rest of the power pop scene.
Mike Turner – The Bees Knees Number 20
Another Australian pop import. Chiming guitars, great tunes and good vocals. Pop albums have become singer/songwriter albums in that you can pick your personal favourite, and it probably won’t be your friends favourite. Pop albums may never reach a wide enough audience ever again to be important cultural markers, but that’s not the complete fault of pop bands. The Richies album has everything you might want, but pop is now a niche music. Hell, I’m not sure music isn’t more than a backwater part of today’s culture.
That said, “Every Little Thing” and “I Wanna Make It With you” are great songs, as is “I Won’t Give In” and well…. The whole record is pretty darn good, with just enough rock to give the tunes some teeth. There is of course, a heavy sixties influence. Although I see it more from 1964-1965 than later, especially on the lovely “My Love Is True” which reminds me of the DC5’s slower ballads.
Buy this one, crank it up and invite some friends to enjoy it with you. This is no headphone-alone-in-the-dark album, this is a party album. So throw one and throw this on!
I wish pop was more popular because an album like this deserves to be heard by more people, but I’m just one person. Maybe you’d like to join me in supporting a music that is threatening to fade away?
John Auker (Rock Beat Issue 25 – Summer 2004)
Here’s yet another brilliant Australian record that will probably fly completely under America’s radar. The Richies are a new (?) trio, augmented on drums, various instruments and backing vocals by the great Michael Carpenter. And this record is easily the best power pop record of the last six months, a show in for my top ten of 2004. It’s just masses of jangly guitars, three-and four part harmonies, lovely melodies, great lyrics, unforgettable chorus’s, and smart arrangements. All without sounding especially derivative or retro (the only thing they really resemble, really, is Michael Carpenter records, hardly a bad thing). Try out the opener, “Fallen Stars,” “Up & Out,” “I Won’t Give In,” or “Little Pretty Things” for first-rate examples of pure pop for now people. This is my favourite recent record, with no strong competition.
Kent Benjamin – Pop Culture Press Issue 58
Given that three quarters of The Richies are (or have been) in The Pyramidiacs it is pretty clear before even listening to their debut LP "Forever and Today" that these guys have the necessary credentials to orchestrate and perform pop music of the most classic variety.
The album lulls its way into action with the Brian Wilsonesque playfulness
of "Fallen stars", complete with some nifty Pet Sounds percussive moments.
The track is a fair representation of the rest of the album with its
infusion of sparkling guitar chords and warm three part harmonies. It is a
formula that is applied time and time and again throughout "Forever and
Today". "I won't give in" opens with a jangle that is reminiscent of The
Searchers whilst "I wanna make it with you" rollicks with the sophistication
of The Van De Leckis and sheer exuberance of The Wondermints. "I do" blasts
its way into an overload of do do do dos and Beatles nostalgia before
"Little Petty Things'" head bopping rhythm gives you an indication of what
Gerard Love might sound like if the Ice Cream Hands were to act as his
Bright and upbeat moments are aplenty on this disc but it is the more
subdued feeling of "My love is true" that is a definite highlight. Its
dreamy acoustic guitars awash with carefully placed touches of mandolin,
wurlitzer and a guitar solo that could have been plucked straight from a
Jimmy Webb tune that makes for a well crafted gem. It is the kind of song
that would sound best played in the evening on a beach around a fire with
some of your friends as you wait for the last wave of summer to crash.
There isn't anything particularly ground breaking about this album but I
don't think that has ever been a concern for The Richies. It is a record
brimming with bright harmonies and pure pop goodness that has been mastered
by many great bands before them and The Richies are able to remind us how
infectious and joyous this type of music is to listen to. Given the time of
year we are heading into The Richies could be the perfect soundtrack to get
you through these summer months.
Kelly Deeing Oz Music Project December 2003
After a gestation time of two and a half years, The Richies have finally given birth to their debut long player, Forever and Today, 13 tracks of fun lovin' pop rock!
Even though this is their first full-length release as The Richies, the members are all seasoned musos. Charley Davis (lead vox) used to be in The Stereos and collaborated some tunes with Eddie Owen of Sydney band, The Pyramidiacs. Michael Carpenter and Bob Susnjara (both also of the Pyramidiacs) joined the duo and formed The Richies.
Lyrically, Forever and Today is positively love struck! Tracks like 'I do' and 'Little Petty Things' read like the love letters of a teenage schoolboy full of sweaty desire. In track 4, 'I wanna make it with you', you can almost taste the pubescent angst. It reads;
"I wanna make it with you
I wanna make it with you
I've been in a fix, since that day in ninety-six.
You were lying there and I had to stare at your eyes.
You were seventeen and fulfilled my only dreams."
However not all the tracks on Forever and Today are as overtly lovelorn. Tracks such as 'Fallen Stars', 'Little Charms' and 'Oh No, Okay', take a mature and insightful look into relationships. To their credit, The Richies perform the sugary lyrics in a convincing and non-corny fashion. Their pop-rock sound gives the songs some creedence that even your average bloke could listen to and perhaps even sing along with, without feeling too in touch with his fenimine side.
Soundwise, The Richies play true pop rock but with their own unique flavour. Their remarkable musicianship has a lot to do with their original sound, all members can play multiple and indeed, varied instruments. This results not only in an intricate and intriguing sound but also in their case, creates many interesting layers within their songs. It is not uncommon to hear up to seven different instruments in a Richies track. For example, CD starter, 'Fallen Stars' opens with a light airy glockenspiel/organ intro, then breaks into a classic pop rock guitar-driven verse. The entire track serves up a veritable smorgasbord of backing instruments ranging from the low hum of the Hammond organ, to the angelic tink of the triangle. Most tracks in Forever and Today carry this impressive trademark.
Vocal harmonies are also a large part of The Richies' sound and the boys are understandably proud of it! As their bio boasts, "It has been said that Bob, Eddie and Mick can sing immaculate harmonies in their sleep". The intricate and flawless harmonies on tracks such as, 'I wanna make it with you' and 'I do' certainly back their claim up.
Whilst their awesome musical talent is unquestionable, The Richies' sound can become quite repetitious. I believe my sister summed it up best, when listening to the CD for the first time, she said, (twice), "I'm sure we've heard this song before!"
The Richies should be proud of their first little whipper-snapper, Forever and Today. Like the perfect baby, it has taken all the finest parts of its creators' genes. But with four male 'parents', I imagine the conception may have been, well, a little ugly.
The Good: A four piece that sounds like a 12 piece.
The Bad: More repetitive than Delta Goodrem at the ARIAs.
The Vibe: Perfect for a guy on his first date. At a distant listen the sound is rough enough to give you some 'manly' cred and if the little lady happens to catch some of the lyrics, you're a sure thing!
Even without his own songwriting involvement, as I’ve pointed out several times before, the pressence of Michael Carpenter on an album is almost enough a reason for high expaectaions. This time around, besides twisting the knobs in the producer’s chair, he also bangs the skins in the drummer’s chair, and he does a great job of course, but none of it would’ve mattered, if it wasn’t for the perfect rockin’ pop tunes of the band’s main songwriter, Charley Davis. The opening tune “Fallen stars” sets the mood for the rest of the record, which is melodies to die for, three-part harmonies, 12-string jangle and enough hooks to never let you go. By the time the second one, “Up & out”, hits it’s first 60 seconds, you’ll start to wonder if it’s possible for a pop band to get any better than this, which you will give up during the third one, “Every little thing”, realising that you’re in for an endless ride. Regarding the latter, if you thought that after The Beatles and Jeff Lynne among others, it’d be too much to have another one with the same title, well, you’re wrong! Of course, I could go on praising every one of the remaining songs, taking too much of a space, but I can’t help but mention at least one more and that’s the FABulous power-popin’ Beatlism “I wanna make it with you” and I’ll leave it at that! After you’ve enRICHened your’ musical experience yourselves, I’m sure you’ll keep coming back to this one “forever and today”!
Goran Obradovic / POPISM radio show; Serbia & Montenegro
“The Richies” were born in 2000, from an idea of Charles Davis who, not so satisfied by the hard rock of his former band “The Stereos”, starts to compose pop songs with the help of Eddie Owen (“The Pyramidiacs”), later joined, during the recording sessions, by Bob Susnjara and Michael Carpenter (both members of “The Pyramidiacs”). After three years of development, long period of waiting caused by the very intense musical activity of all band members, in particular by Michael Carpenter (cornerstone of the Melbourne pop scene), the final result is this pleasant album. Built on sweet melodies very near to Beatles and Hollies and sometimes on powerful guitars (Big Star) this “Forever and Today” make “The Richies” the latest great band of Popboomerang label.
WHERE THE ACTION IS! (Savio records)
The Richies -- Forever And Today (Pop Boomerang): Or The Richies survey the classic sounds of pop and power pop. This Aussie band touches a lot of bases, with a lot of skill. I'm not sure if this gives them much of an identity, but they do a pretty good job on most of what they try. So your enjoyment on this disc will depend on your tolerance for derivativeness -- at times I found myself simultaneously annoyed and entertained. Listening to a number like "I Wanna Make it with You", I'm confronted by sounds I like, yet I spend most of the song trying to figure out what bits they nicked (deliberately or unconsciously) from other sources. An even better example is "My Love Is True". It's essentially a ballad in the vein of the early Beatles (a la "This Boy"). From that standpoint, it's competent. However, the keyboard and Mellotron touches are really nice. There's a Teenage Fanclub-ish tune, "Little Petty Things", a standard issue jangle rocker ("Up & Out") and more Beatleisms. What all this adds up to is a band with talent in search of a distinctive identity. popboomerang.com
Mike Bennet www.fufkin.com
They grow em’ on trees in Australia, these jangly power pop acts with the gleaming harmonies and the three minute tunes. But with two many of the Aussie pop boys have the sound down, while forgetting to bring the memorable melodies to the party. Thankfully, the Richies have it all: he 13 numbers on Forever & Today boast polished songwriting, the requisite jangle and gentle bite of the six string, and some amazingly intricate and sweet harmonies. The ubiquitous and ridiculously talented Michael Carpenter produced, and also serves as the bands drummer (as well as adding keyboards, backing vocals and various and sundry other instrumentation to the mix) Funny thing is that lead vocalist Charley Davis sounds a lot like Carpenter, especially on such minor pop masterpieces as “Fallen Stars” and “I Wanna Make It With You”. Nothing groundbreaking here, but definitely a sunny, consistently successful CD worthy of multiple listens
An endearing boyishness pervades this recording, “I’m gonna cry if I don’t say what I’m thinking”. The songs are all chirpy and vibrant. Each simple little love song is sickly sweet with happiness and charm, “Can’t you see that it’s you, only you I’ll ever need”. There are some gorgeous deep back up croons on Up & Out, a wonderful contrast which could be utilised more often to the same effect Supertramp or Gomez mix and match vocalists. The sweet toyish tweet “I wanna kick it with you girl in the Caribbean” is bloominlikable. Every Little Thing reminds me of that Oneders/ Wonders song by the imitation 60s group from the film That Thing You Do. Could have something to do with the way the songs have been constructed using all the archetypal 60s characteristics. A cute simple Beachboy flavour here, a cute doop and ah! there…and a woo or two for good measure. The Partridge Familyish Little Petty Things has the line “Come with me my honeybee and be my only one, don’t take it seriously, we’re gonna have some fun”. The Richies aren’t hampered by any great concerns. Their biggest issue is not much of an issue – “I kissed your lips and I nearly missed”. Tee hee, that’s so sweet. I Wont Give In develops from a quiet walking pace to a nice jostling chorus, probably the most together song on the album. Plus the marracca shaking is a novel inclusion. Perhaps the song is so likeable for its determination: “I wont give in to you, no!’’, an alternative to the general theme of life as a lovestruck puppy, “I hope that you understand with my heart in your hands”, “I will give in to your little charms” and the like. The final upbeat and eager firing guitar instrumental works a charm and they shouldn’t be afraid of including more of the same. All in all, a friendly little love album for the one your smitten with.
EMILY K PERKIN BEAT Magazine Feb 11 2004
Don't confuse this band with the Ramones-core group of the same name from
Germany, this group is from Australia and sticks to smooth jangle pop
confections. Featuring three members of the Pyramidiacs, including producer
Michael Carpenter, and Charley Davis on vocals, this release was a long
time in the making because of the heavy schedules of the players. It was
definitely worth the wait though, because the songs are so solid. Davis's
former band was more of a straight up rock outfit, but the edges have been
smoothed out on this debut, leaving a fine indie pop effort along the lines
of Squeeze, full of gorgeous harmonies, subtle and intricate lead guitars,
and songs you can't help but want to sing along to. They also don't run
into the trap of writing too many songs that sound the same; sure 3/4 of
the songs are at the same tempo, but they mix in a couple of real rockers as
well, while maintaining the great pop sound. Terrific for fans of Fountains
Of Wayne, Squeeze and other great indie pop/rock outfits.
Steve Gardener Big Takeover issue # 17
I don't know what it is about Aussie groups or New Zealand bands that often appeals to me. Perhaps it's the fact they are often as good or better than the British bands without the large music magazines singing their weekly hyperbolic praises. Or it might be that nobody else seems to know what or who the hell I'm raving about. The Richies are such an example. A fusion of two bands -- the Stereos and the Pyramidiacs -- the quartet of Charley Davis, Eddie Owen, Michael Carpenter, and Bob Susnjara mix sweet and sinful harmonies with a tight bubble gum pop sparkle for most of these 11 tracks. At times it might come off as a bit over the top, especially on the lead off tune "Fallen Stars", but it's worth the repeated listens nonetheless. Davis and Owen trade off guitar licks during the bridge and elongate it past the first eight thankfully. And then there are the McCartney-esque head bobbles, my word the McCartney head bobbles.
With all members sharing vocal duties, the Richies perfect this sound on "Up & Out", a slightly faster and more infectious pop tune that brings the Wondermints to mind instantly. You pretty much know the blueprint to this song and where each instrument will kick in, but the way they pull it off is what separates them from so many other bands of the same ilk. "Every Little Thing" comes across just a bit lightweight and formulaic with only brief moments of grin-inducing riffs. Had they taken it the acoustic route, which is something they go out with, the result might be much better. "I Wanna Make It with You" is pure sixties Brit pop à la Dave Clark Five. It's probably the first true nugget and winds into a psychedelic sixties sound halfway through. You can almost see Austin Powers shaking his booty to this tune. "I Won't Give In" is perhaps too sixties as the Richies tend to go over the line here. But there are some fine guitar solos here and a great sense of frantic energy.
The first "ballad" on the album comes as a good time. "My Love Is True" is the sort of title that might have you gagging at first. And the Beach Boys campfire aura to it, in the vein of "Kokomo", certainly won't win them any brownie points. Yet there is still enough to make it passable, which is a credit to the musicianship of the foursome. It leads seamlessly into the bouncy pop of "I Do", another highlight on the record that soars easily. There are also a plethora or "do do do do"s to keep you going for the song's short but sweet duration (tambourine included). A crunchier sound comes from "Little Petty Things", bringing early to mid-life Sloan to mind.
One song is divided up into two sections, the latter of which closes the record. "Today (Part 1)" is a rather inane attempt at recreating the Beatles or, at worst, the Stone Roses. A series of notes and vocals that the listener has to endure for a painful thirty seconds. Even if there were some Satanic or subliminal messages you could hear, it might be worthwhile. Alas, that is not the case. What works for the group is catchy and sometimes quirky pop, which they find often on "Little Charms", a charmer in itself. The spacey conclusion sounds suitable here also for some strange reason.
Like most albums, there are a couple of songs near the end that are there because, well, either as experiments or filler. "You Fill Me Up" is a mixture of the two, with bizarre harps and keyboards dotting the song. Then there are tablas or some sort of percussion added for a trippy effect. And then there is a cheesy organ. Okay, enough already! Prior to the painful coda of "Today (Part 2)", "Oh No, Okay" is a cheerful acoustic guitar strumming pop song that has a bit more bite than other songs. The Richies might not get rich off this album, but they have tapped into something quite natural and beautiful all the same.
Jason MacNeil Popmatters.com 25 Feb 2004-03-12
The Richies Forever And Today - (Popboomerang)
Who: The Richies, Forever And Today
Sounds Like: Teenage Fanclub, The Spongetones
Is It Any Good: Good old-fashioned pop music,
borrowing from the best of the '60s and '70s. Lots of
jangly guitar and exquisite harmonies. Great music
for basking in the sunshine.
Wil Harris: NineVolt Magazine, Hampton Roads,
Ah, pop. Ain't it grand?
The Richies Forever And Today is pretty grand. This is pure pop done simple and without pretension or misguided purpose - just guys who can write good tunes, sing, and sound like they're having a good time doing it. Remember the lone Someloves CD? It's kinda like that. Don't remember the lone Someloves CD? (Shame, shame). Well then, what we're talking about here in The Richies are references that range from The Beatles to Big Star with a splash of Posies somewhere between their debut and Dear 23. They turn a cliche like "I Wanna Make It With You" into a pretty love song, can add a hint of psychedelia in "Little Charms", and can rock a little harder as on a track like "Little Petty Things". Kudos also have to go to pop's very own "is there anything this guy can't do" Michael Carpenter who also provides assistance at the skins here as well as a tasteful production.
This isn't groundbreaking stuff or any kind of big musical statement. Then again, that really isn't the point here. The Richies just like writing and playing pop. They wear their influences on their sleeve, but more in pursuit of tribute rather than merely "copying". What they lack in originality they make up for in quality. That's why I keep spinning this one over and over. The ringing guitar of "I Do" is piping through my headphones as I write this.
You have to ask yourself at times just what you want out of the genres you love. If you decide you like every band that tries to sound like The Beatles, The Kinks, Big Star, or whomever then you're going to end up with a closet full of CDs of fifth-rate imitators. What makes The Richies different for me is the standard I mentioned earlier - where wasted notes are nowhere to be found, and the glee with which they're delivered is almost giddy.
Hits me where I live.
Claudio Sossi -Shake It Up www.powerpop.org/shakeitup/reviews/richies.htm