Charlie Mars' minor re-invention works in his favor.
Charlie Mars exorcises demons, pours out veiled confessionals, and reigns things in a bit for Gather the Horses. The new-found sense of restraint suits him surprisingly well. Touching on darker themes than he has on previous releases makes Blackberry Light seem more personal and the songs more effective. While there are no sweeping grandiose ballads or lush commercial powerpop songs to be found here, there’s a greater sense of completion than Mars has had with his previous releases. Which strikes one as kind of odd seeing as how Blackberry Light utilizes his most expansive creative palette to date, sifting through everything from electro to reggae. While this is still radio-ready material of an impressively high caliber, there are still a few elements missing—which ultimately prevents this record from achieving the greatness of which Mars is undoubtedly capable.