Carina Round - Tigermending
Carina Round is going to make Brits proud. Here we have a gutsy, adventurous musician who is not afraid to mix instrumental experimentation with powerful vocals and proud rock elements.
The album comes straight out of the blocks with 'Pick Up The Phone'. Opening line "Pick up the phone, I'm pregnant with your baby" most certainly grabs attention. Round quickly paints the picture of the perfect anti-heroine. There is dark imagery within the lyrics stirring up a troubled situation and there is dark instrumentation to match. The vocals are smoky, like Alison Mosshart or PJ Harvey. It is understated and menacing.
'Tigermending' has minimal bass and restrained drumming. The chorus has terrifying reverb guitar and the loud and soft contrasts work very well and it builds into a great crescendo. 'Girl and the Ghost' doesn't relent, with shouting, passionate vocals and thumping toms. 'You and Me' provides a far more mainstream sound, with gentle, relaxing acoustic this time. It does develop again into the engulfing choral vocals of the earlier tracks, but this time they are singing open, honest and vulnerable lyrics. The simple "I miss you, I miss you I do" is heart-wrenching.
It is just a brief break though, and 'Set Fire' quickly returns to biting electric guitars and cynical lyrics such as "everybody here's so far up everyone else." It is 'Weird Dream' though, that is the highlight of the album, the pinnacle of the adventurous nature of this work. The distorted bass, disharmonious guitar and pizzicato strings are both funky and freaky. It takes off without warning, and all guns are blazing as crash cymbals intermingle with megaphones in a nightmarish cacophony.
The closing three tracks are more sedate, and admittedly not really of note when compared with the excellent song writing of earlier on, but it is a small negative in an otherwise very impressive, memorable collection.