Monday, 3 June 2013

Carousels & Limousines - Home To Andy's

Album review by

Since debut single '17's' dropped a little while ago the buzz has been building for Carousels & Limousines debut. 'Home To Andy's' title-track and lead introduces us in a solid fashion like a long-lost Faces outtake. A Hammond fills the spaces, and singer Sam Gotley has a well-worn tone, which is rich and rewarding in the fashion of Chris Robinson or Rod Stewart. After the swagger of 'Home to Andy's', gears are pushed up giving us a driving tune in the best top-down fashion. 'One & Only' is a riot of a song. It withstands The Gaslight Anthem comparisons by its quality. It speeds by, leaving you wanting it to drive on for longer. That aforementioned debut single '17's' drops next. Its familiarity hasn't diminished its appeal and here Carousels & Limousines bring out all their strength and deliver a song that may yet be worthy of the term "classic". Gotley sings of that girl with a longing and passion that you see her "looking good, with hips swaying", then you find yourself dancing along as the song reaches out.

Any track that has to follow such a show of intent that is '17s' is always going to struggle to be heard. 'Access' just about manages to stand up to '17s'. It comes on earthier, rawer, has dirty swagger in its step and the album's loudest solo so far. Although the "ooo-ooos" that crop up do remind me of Girls Aloud. (I can only apologise for this.) Changing pace, Gotley sings of  "the man in command asking how I'd like to die" as 'Greasy Hands' starts. An introspective song that tells of many snapshots of lives while the deceptively simple nature only enhances the impact of the song. The song becomes more expansive and they step out into full epic scope. Live you can imagine 'Greasy Hands' stretching into a raw jam; it reminds of Ryan Adam's 'Rescue Blues' in its growth. An album stand-out.

'Spider' is all Stones' raunch and is another fine song. Jagger and Richard sparring with Gotley and some inspired playing. These hooks irresistibly draw you into 'Spider', and soon you are shaking and hollering "gotta let your guard down" in pure rock'n'roll abandon. Switching back to the low-slung feel of the album's opener, 'Country Soul' is a tender sunset of a song. That girl walking back into view, as we hear that maybe it would be best "to walk away". A bittersweet love song that is accomplished and fulfills its promise. 'Country Soul' has a strong American feel to it, but it never falls into pastiche, its ageless theme holds itself up. Next song 'I'll Run'  almost falls into those dreaded cliches as "cowboys to the sun" and "Jimi" quickly make an appearance. But 'I'll Run' has a pure, carefree, hands-in-the-air style to it. You can see after a sweaty night of good times, music and beer, you will find yourself shouting this out into the night.

'Home To Andy's' final couplet of tracks are headed up by 'Roll Around'. Another strong track, here you feel that Carousels & Limousines are mining a sound all of their own and all the better for it. It's a track that you want to hear over and over. 'Maria' finds us at the end of this surprisingly good, at times excellent, mature, towering album, and 'Maria' sends us off in grand style. It is taut and measured, has a flow and grace that recalls many, but it in its windswept solo, closest is Dire Straits' 'Telegraph Road', ending 'Home To Andy's' with effortless, powerful panache.

Carousels & Limousines' website

Pre-order the album

Catch them live:

Jun 10 Moles, Bath, United Kingdom
Jun 29 Avalon Cafe, Glastonbury Festival, United Kingdom

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