Album Review: Charlie Collins – 'Undone'

4 May 2022 | 1:48 pm | Mary Varvaris

"A record that feels both current and timeless."

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Charlie Collins’ world fell apart two years ago. In the middle of a global pandemic, she also had to get through a marriage breakdown. While her debut album, Snowpine, wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, the follow-up record, Undone, is more vulnerable than she ever expected. 

In recent interviews, Collins described tracks like November as “brutal”. With lines like, 'Do you still call me your wife? Or the girl that fucked your life?” it’s clear that she’s not just using the cliché of personal music; it is that raw. 

Snowpine saw Collins achieve great success. From her humble beginnings in Tamworth to opening for Gang Of Youths throughout their mammoth Australian tour (and more recently, their UK tour) to receiving an ARIA nomination for Best Country Album, she quickly made a name for herself. 

Collins knows exactly how to pull at listeners’ heartstrings. She harmonises beautifully with band members and can make a memorable melody out of nowhere. Undone takes the best of her roots in country music and pulls from shoegaze, pop, and indie rock influences to create a record that feels both current and timeless. 

Another difference between Snowpine and Undone is the presence of collaborators. Or, should I say, a bunch of Collins’ closest friends helping her project her words to music. The former Gang Of Youths guitarist, Joji Malani, appears; so do Japanese Wallpaper, Jarryd James, and Xavier Dunn. 

Writing with friends meant that the addictive Backseat Valentine was written in an hour and recorded in ten minutes, thanks to Dunn’s input. Without Malani, the perfect album opener, Lovers To Strangers, and devastating November may not have made it onto the album. That would have been a travesty; I can’t imagine the record without those songs. 

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Just My Luck is perhaps the catchiest song on Undone, opening on Collins’ lower register before bursting into a soaring chorus. She ruminates on keeping someone safe and not wanting to see them fade away on Hit The Lights while Fuck It, as poppy as it is, deceives listeners to dance when she sings, “I don’t deserve your last name.” 

Undone does indeed reveal the undoing of Collins. It’s a very honest, heartbreaking record, but it’s uplifting in its candour and determination to find hope and relish friendships through the pain. In that way, it’s not your typical break-up record.