[27 April 2009]
New Jersey rock band Carlon have a primal, garage sound that creeps up on you like the Strokes early work. And fortunately the boys in this group have it, whatever that it is, on the leadoff number “Mixed Messages” which is part rock and part psychedelic. And it’s that prog-rock psychedelic feel that makes “Cantaloupe” work so well, instantly bringing to mind “Fearless” by Pink Floyd. Led by vocalist Michael McWilliams, Carlon sound far more wiser and experienced musically beyond their years. From there the Americana comes to the fore on the gorgeous, swaying “Where the Driveway Ends” which hits and pushes all the right buttons. Resembling parts of an alt-country ideal (Blue Rodeo, Son Volt, Wilco and the Jayhawks merged into one), Carlon also nail “Caution” perfectly. Throughout the record, which is their debut, numbers like the heady “Red Rover” rarely falter while the lighter, harmony-laden but at times seedy “Have a Window” is worth dozens of listens. Although “The Haunt” is a quirky, strange affair, Carlon make it work without much hard labor. But if there was any question as to whether the band and album are excellent, just take notice of the smooth but stellar “Murder the Night” which glides along like so much of this fine album.