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Erland & The Carnival

Trouble in Mind EP

(Yep Roc/Full Time Hobby; US: 19 Oct 2010; UK: 19 Oct 2010)

Well, this Trouble in Mind has absolutely nothing to do with the Richard M. Jones-penned 1926 standard that’s been covered by… everybody. It’s a whole different beast. Guitarist Simon Tong (of the Verve, Gorillaz) ranges the influences of the four tracks on this EP from Ennio Morricone to the 13th Floor Elevators, but I also hear some different things. The title track is dark, melodically sound, with intriguing electronic accoutrements, and enough changes in instrumentation to keep its repetitiveness interesting. “My Name Is Carnival” seems to be an homage to the Moody Blues, and appropriately, a wildly careening carnival theme permeates “You Don’t Have to Be Lonely”, which comes across as a new wave Nuggets, if you can possibly imagine that. The final track, “Love Is a Killing Thing”, is not only the strongest, but sums up, as best as I can tell from the wee bit of material presented here, the band wholly. Weaving psychedelic choral interludes out of the Electric Prunes’ Mass in F Minor with early Jefferson Airplane and occasional Tom Waits madness, the band’s sound is very, very unique, despite my deluge of comparisons. Just don’t expect strong melodies or pop hooks on this one; that’s not their aim.

Rating:

Stephen Rowland has been founding and contributing to numerous underground film and music publications for the last 12 years. In addition to critiquing images and sounds, he makes no money as a regional historian and preservationist, co-authoring "Postcard History Series: Alameda" and "Images of America: Alameda," available from Arcadia Publishing.


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