British four-piece band Carousel draw influences from Americana, folk, rock, blues and roots – which is not so unusual, you might think, because those influences work well together. What is unusual about this band from Southend-on-Sea, near Essex, are that all four members are accomplished vocalists. And from the evidence of the five tracks on this debut EP, they all have their preferred musical strand to marry to their voices, to great effect. They also deploy harmonies judiciously and beautifully.
The immediate standout track is the third, ‘Porcelain’, because of the lovely combination of male and female voices, and the sweetly lilting melody. However, closer listening to the other four tracks reveals the skill and experience behind each of them. ‘Throw Me to the Wolves’ has more of a driving rock style, ‘Show’ modern folk, ‘Dead Horse’ shows its country roots, and ‘Comfortable Skin’ is a wistful ballad.
Those influences mentioned above are evident but not overworked. Indeed, the songs seem to take inspiration from those musical styles rather than trying to consciously display them. If I were to guess, I’d say they each know what works for their voices and they draw on that in the songwriting process. The result is not a hodge-podge of styles; instead, it’s an eclectic and also cohesive mixture of songs that are unified by a high standard of songwriting and performance.
The band’s bio states that they were founded in 2015, four friends and solo musicians who decided to come together ‘with the ideology that they are better together than they are apart’. I haven’t heard their solo music but it is clear on this EP that they are very strong together, and no doubt stronger still as time goes on.
Carousel is out now.