There’s no denying that retro rock is very de rigueur right now. There is no shortage of bands who looking back to the 70’s rock heyday with rose tinted spectacles and seeking to emulate the sounds of a time when heavy rock was new, fresh and exciting…a time when nu-metal was, fortunately, a long way off and heavy music was still pure and open to new ideas and influences. Scandinavia may appear to have some sort of monopoly on bands who have raided their parent’s old clothing stashes and play an approximation of what they think music possibly sounded like in the 70’s. Over in Pittsburgh, however, Carousel don’t appear to give two shits about looking like a bunch of retro retards, they’ve just been jamming out to some classic vinyl and getting their heads down to some good old boogie.
Carousel’s 2013 debut album Jeweler’s Daughter was a killer piece of buzzed up, twin guitar heavy rock and roll that sounded like a clash between Motorhead and Thin Lizzy. Two years on and 2113 is very much business as usual for the band. This time round, though, the amped up, balls out energy of the debut has been tempered in favour of bigger choruses and a more mid paced, classic rock drive. Take Buried Alive In Your Arms for example, this is chest beating, stadium rock and roll, in the vein of classic Kiss with a solid dusting of Thin Lizzy’s street level rocking…and a potential classic with a killer chorus to hang on to. Whereas the Scandinavian set of retro bands frequently dip their toes in prog, Carousel know that, deep down, people want to rock and, like contemporaries such as Lecherous Gaze, Mos Generator and Lord Fowl, they look to bands such as the afore mentioned Thin Lizzy and Kiss, as well as hard rock legends like Montrose, Aerosmith (check out Highway Strut for some ‘Smith style barroom boogie!), Buffalo, Cheap Trick, Foghat, Grand Funk Railroad, Humble Pie…etc.
The over riding impression of this album is that Carousel aren’t a band contriving a vintage sound; they don’t seem to have gone out of their way to force a retro production or track down obscure amps to nail down exact tones. Instead they sound like a band who dig the shit out of great music and when they get together that’s exactly what they jam between them. That’s not to say the production is ultra modern and processed, far from it, it’s a natural, free flowing sound…the sound of a band kicking back in their jam room and having a good time, then taking that same vibe into the studio, setting up their gear and laying it down, which is, in essence, what makes for great rock and roll.
In a nutshell, Carousel play, hairy, denim clad, big boned heavy rock and roll…great playing, great singing and great song writing. Really, when you break it down into that, what more could you possibly want? Grab this album, grab a cold beer and for 40 minutes or so your life will seem pretty damn good, and that is a rare and special gift for a band.
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall