Where were you the first time you heard Charlie Burg’s Infinitely Tall? Or, rather — where will you be? What does that place mean to you? Hopefully it’s somewhere special.
Infinitely Tall is about spaces — the ones that make, break, shape, and uplift us. The debut album from the Metro Detroit, Michigan-born singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, takes place across three chapters, each tied to a specific, precious locale: Chapter One in Charlie’s childhood home in Detroit; Chapter Two in Syracuse, at Charlie’s beloved college house; and Chapter Three in the vast expanses of New York City. Each chapter is its own gorgeous, rose-tinted paean to home, or the feeling of home, wherever it may lie.
Infinitely Tall marks a shift for Charlie. Across this album’s 15 generous, skyward-looking songs, he augments his bedrock of lo-fi soul and lush indie-pop with piquant, arresting new textures: the forward motion of driving post-punk, sparkling electronic abrasion, the melodic grip of romantic 90s indie-rock. Marrying the golden-era perfectionism of his early music with an enticing new fondness for chaos, the entirety of Charlie’s musical outlook comes to the fore here. “My whole life I've been reticent to give something my all, so for the project I spared none of my instincts,” he says. “I knew I had to take a crack at something ambitious.”
Perhaps ‘ambitious’ undersells it. These songs are rich and cinematic, bristling with the rush of old sense-memories recalled. Take, for example, “97 Avalon”, the vivid first single from Infinitely Tall, a future slow-dance classic led by one of Charlie’s most sublime vocals to date. Inspired by the white 1997 Toyota Avalon that Charlie shared with his twin brother growing up, it’s a perfect vignette rendered in song. “Every verse is a different drive in that automobile, one year later than the last verse,” says Charlie. “In the end, all you can do is be filled with love for what you know.”
Similarly evocative are “Break The Rhythm” and “Dancing Thru The Mental Breakdown”, two indie rock-influenced tracks that find Charlie deftly unpacking rootlessness and toxic social media culture. Landing somewhere between Randy Newman and Guided By Voices, each track is uniquely, profoundly Charlie, the former written in the midst of his first tour — and capturing all the ambiguity that entails — and the latter “a sardonic denunciation of my own ego and a sharp tongued commentary on the social fabric in which a modern musician is forced to partake in.”
All of this is to say: Charlie’s first music since 2020, and first body of work since 2019, has been worth the wait. Dazzling and teeming with life, Infinitely Tall is a surprising, wide-reaching next chapter for one of this generation’s most promising young songwriters, and the perfect collection to lead into a world tour taking place in the latter half of 2022. Built from the ground up, it’s an ode to home that, hopefully, feels like a home for you — wherever you may be.