Piers Faccini - vocals, acoustic guitar
Francesca Beard - words, vocals
Frank Byng - percussion, electronics
Lucas Suarez - electric guitar
Based around the songs/guitar of Piers Faccini and the words of Francesca Beard, the band was characterized by the interplay between their alternating voices augmented by the soundscapes, textures and rhythms of guitarist Lucas Suarez and the percussion and electronics of Frank Byng.
Together Charley Marlowe produce an imaginative mix of soulful lyrics, humorous pop and sensual world beat sounds. Their music was once described as "...a beautiful mutant, fusing folk to hop, avant to pop, sung to spoken word."
"Quirky performance poet Francesca Beard fronts this bluesy, rootsy band, contributing lyrics that linger and shivering vocals which melt into guitarist Piers Faccini's deeper tones. The group's heroes are Serge Gainsbourg, Nick Drake and Leadbelly, but their sound is their own and utterly magical at that."
"Charley Marlowe are one of the most refreshing and captivating live acts I have ever experienced. A perfect fusion of compelling poetry, infectious melodies and bizarre noises, all delivered with perfect taste and sensitivity."
"It started in 1997, with Francesca Beard and Piers Faccini putting poems to songs. At their first gig, a woman came up to them and asked if it was their own original material. Yes- they replied. Her face darkened and her voice became thick with hatred and fear. "It's shit" she said, passionately. It was then they knew they had something very special.
After an early gig at the 12 Bar, they were invited by director Jeremy Lovering to do the sound-track for his Channel 4 docu-drama Fatal Embrace. They asked percussionist Frank Byng to put down some percussion on several tracks. Soon after, he joined Charley Marlowe and brought along young magician and shredder Lucas Suarez, from Snorkel. Their credo was: The first rule of Charley Marlowe is we don't talk about Charley Marlowe.
Their unique sound and commitment to secrecy attracted a loyal grassroots following in London and Paris at venues such as Cithea, the 12 Bar, the Scala, Subterrania, the Jazz Cafe, the Kashmir and Cargo. They worked with producer Saul Freeman of Mandalay to produce a number of tracks, including 'Circus' and 'Sorry', which were once rumoured to be available for download on peoplesound.com and Kevin Armstrong, of Laylow Studios also produced a number of stunning tracks, not available anywhere. They are perhaps most remarkable for being the world's worst marketed band, the music industry equivalent of the giant sloth, rarely seen, not really looked for."
[Francesca Beard 2005]
More about the band...
Piers Faccini is a singer/songwriter who eventually left C.M to pursue a solo career, releasing his first album Leave No Trace in France on Label Bleu in 2004 to great critical acclaim. He released the follow up Tearing Sky on Everloving Records in the USA produced by JP Plunier [Ben Harper/Jack Johnson] and has since continued to release albums in the USA and France. He has also written music for a number of documentaries, including the South Bank Show.
Francesca Beard is a "spine tingling and narcotic poet" (The Independent), performing spoken word in venues from the ICA (London) to Roskilde rock festival, Torino International Festival of Culture and NuYorican Cafe (New York), with work published in anthologies such as Hodder and Stoughton's Oral and Dazed and Confused's Annual.
Lucas Suarez, a prodigious young guitarist based in Barcelona, came to the London to train as a composer and has since worked on numerous film and television scores. He has been a long-standing member of improv collective Snorkel and featured on Piers Faccini's first solo album and subsequent tour.
Frank Byng, drummer, percussionist and producer, studied music and drums in Ghana and Burkina Faso, with the Pan African Orchestra amongst others, and with legendary jazz drummer Clifford Jarvis. His C.V. includes working with the likes of 1 Giant Leap, Barry Adamson, Ayub Ogada, Manasseh, Spectre, Grasscut, Slovo and Tony Allen.