The Soundcarriers - Celeste - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Soundcarriers - Celeste

by Rich Morris Rating:7 Release Date:2010-08-02

The fact that this second album by the Nottingham quartet comes with sleeve notes which inform you that "the reverb used on these recordings is 100 per cent natural" gives you a good indication of the kind of band they are. Celeste was recorded on tape in the band's own studio and mixed in a disused warehouse and consequently has a likably warm, vinyl feel to it. Thankfully, The Soundcarriers are purists in the best sense of the word. Rather than seeking to boringly recreate the sounds of rock past, the band brings it rich and expansive knowledge of 60s and 70s esoteric folk, rock, jazz and psychedelic pop to proceedings, with some often great results.

Much of the album has a wistful, ethereal feel to it. So while splendid opening track 'Last Broadcast' is like Can at their most charging and energised, following tracks 'Step Outside' and 'Morning Haze' have more of a jazzy lightness of touch and floating, ghostly quality to them, like a more spectral Belle & Sebastian, or Groove Armada if they were remotely interesting.

There's definitely a cod 60s psych-pop vibe about songs like 'Broken Sleep' and 'There Only Once', a hippy-shake quality which would make them perfect music for people who don't like listening to anything that demands too much of their attention. Thankfully, however, when the song-craft and melodies are as good as they are for much of the album, it's hard to hold this against The Soundcarriers.

Throughout Celeste, the listener can't help but be aware that this is a band who really know their obscure and classic pop reference points, and The Soundcarriers are very good at blending the two. So, for example, 'Rolling On' blends the oscillating buzz of Silver Apples with folky boy/girl harmonies. The only problem here is that sometimes, as on the Portishead-light of 'Signals', the background sounds are more interesting than the actual music which overlays them. The title track, which closes proceedings, is one of the most arresting moments, an inventive, cranky acid rock workout. The album could definitely have benefited from a few more moments like this.

Overall, Celeste is a good, consistent and well put together album, but a little one note. A few songs start promisingly with interesting sounds before resorting to a default jazz-folk setting which is pretty rather than captivating. For album number three, perhaps The Soundcarriers should embrace the possibilities of the modern studio and see what far out sounds they can create there?

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