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27 Rue de Mi'chelle




self-released on BandCamp

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Carrousel is a six-piece band from Florida that makes folkish pop. I find that this album reminds me quite a bit of what Milo Greene are doing these days. Only Carrousel has one primary vocalist, Joel Piedt, who sings the bulk of the time, as oppose to having a half dozen people who trade lead vocal duties.

The album starts with Idée Fixe, a short intro of strummed guitar and oohing voices. It blends directly into 14 where Piedt's voice joins the strummed guitar and then, suddenly, the song explodes with foot stomped rhythm, a swaying keyboard riff, and the whole band singing and clapping and going at it. The tune has a shambling air that swells up into dense moments and retreats to quieter pretty moments. Nicely done.

The female voice duets with Piedt on You Only Love Yourself, who start off singing together over acoustic guitar. Then, again the whole band kicks in with a nice piano part and some mid-tempoed percussion. This tune gets nicely spacey in the middle, with the keys tinkling, strings soaring, and a male voice oohing quietly, seemingly leaning away from the mic so that the vice echoes oddly. This tune reminds me, in a slight way, of The Bends-era Radiohead.

Moonlight takes the same general formula and adds a slide guitar to make things seem extra eerie. However, they mix it up a bit on Where Do We Go from Here, a song driven more by strings and piano than by acoustic guitar. The male and female voices sing in delicate harmony. As the song grows, it gets more and more lovely, the piano tinkling as he sings, the strings sawing, and the female voice oohing over some low horns. This is fine work.

They follow this with another brief interlude, In Her Tomb by the Sounding Sea where a voice distant and echoed aaahs, while guitars tink and a sound like waves crashing against the shoreline. The rumbling waves sound blends into Take Me Now, a pretty song driven by a steady piano and the voices harmonizing. It is a lovely enough song, but to be honest kind of the most generic song on the record. That is, it doesn't stand out from the crowd any, at least to me.

The next tune, (15) does stand out. It sounds like there is a harp playing, and someone is shaking some kind of chains that clatter as percussion, while Piedt plays with his vocal range, modulating the pitch of his voice more than he does anywhere else on the record. The female voices add a nice background layer, and the keys sparkle. Nice.

And finally things wrap up with 27 rue de mi'chelle. The piano starts this one off, sparse, alone, playing a simple riff as the band sings. The other instruments join in, bringing this song to a noisy climax. A good end to the record.

There is a lot to like here. However, well, Carrousel do one thing and they do it well, so they stick with it. They don't mix things up too often. What i mean, by that is, a lot of the songs sound kind of alike, and are almost, but not quite, interchangeable. What this means is that people who like are really going to like and, and those who don't care for it will find it monotonous.

Still, for a young band this is pretty impressive.

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