There is an ethereal charm or should that be mischief to the sound of UK quintet Carousels & Limousines, a flavoursome and fascinating breath which is as unworldly as it is earthy ensuring every song is as distinctly different as they are united in transfixing the senses. Certainly going by new EP Strange Love this is so, a four track proposition which lies engagingly on ears like a morning mist and captures the imagination with haunting drama. It is an encounter which has moments that simply seduce without restraint and other times where it has to work to grip the same attention, but ultimately it is a release which inspires a raw appetite to explore Carousels & Limousines even more.
Hailing from Bath, the band began in 2012, emerging from previous guise Grace which had local success with the Stealing Kisses EP. A change in the band’s line-up seems to have been the trigger to new adventure and bigger things within the band which, to condense things, changed their name and entered the studio with producer Richard Causon (Kings Of Leon, Tom Jones, Rufus Wainwright) to record debut album Home To Andy’s, which was released to keen responses in the June of last year. Now the band has moved up a gear and temptation with the Strange Love EP which has also spawned the AA-sided single Superman/Strange Love, this and the EP two compelling doorways into the creative magnetism and sonic haze of Carousels & Limousines.
The release opens with Superman and swiftly as it emerges from its sonic mist with a rhythmic coaxing it has ears and thoughts fully engaged. The bass of Finn McNulty courts the first caress of guitar with a shadow clad tempting whilst the reserved beats of Martyn James almost tease as they mark the entrance of the fine and expressive vocals of Sam Gotley. His tone as the sounds around him is sultry, almost bewitched at times, instantly adding to the smouldering psychedelic lure of the song. Breaking into feistier melodic rock as the guitars of Jamie Wales and Gotley align with the keys of Dominik Sky, the track vivaciously sizzles before returning to its warm flirtation, starting the inescapable temptation all over again. With a sixties air and seventies hue to its colour, the song is a delicious start to the release, alone trapping thoughts and ears into wanting more.
The following Don’t Look Down steps forward with a bluesy Americana toning to its gentle stroll, bass and voice again the early persuasion before guitars and rhythms open up rich but still reserved persuasion. A warm glow of keys brings a mesmeric enticing to the song’s easy going proposal and though it never comes close to impressing and lighting fires as its predecessor, primarily down to personal tastes on its style of music, the song with its potent theatre does little to defuse the urge to investigate the band further.
She’s In The Water steps up next and straight away has intrigue in full flow with its pulsating heavy rhythmic tones and alluring group vocal calls. It is bred from the same seeds as its predecessor but there is a mesmeric croon and tantalising, almost sinister, presence to its enterprise and imagination which especially shines in the chorus, a moment which almost ripples over the senses as the disturbed surface of its title’s action would suggest. The track easily worms under the skin and memory, making frequent returns in thoughts on its own whim even away from the EP.
The release is closed by the EP’s title track, and second song on the new single. Strange Love is an acoustic affair, guitar and voice combining to seduce whilst a Pixies-esque breeze emerges in the harmonies and surf rock like wiry melodies which roam the background. As the last track it is a riveting nagging, relentless temptation which lurks and lingers long pass its company stealing the biggest slice of attention and passions on the release.
The Strange Love EP was not an instant persuasion it is fair to say, though it had plenty to enlist an immediate and eager return, but is an emerging melodic provocateur providing a thoroughly captivating enjoyment. Carousels & Limousines deviously infest ears and thoughts with their sounds, sometimes the realisation only coming long after its departure.
The Strange Love EP and AA-sided single is available now via Pulteney Records.
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