RELEASED: April 30, 2019
Carnival Road is a 4-piece band based in Canberra, Australia. They are Anthony Ives (lead singer/songwriter), Chris Pearson (lead guitar/Harmonica), Andrew Rickard (Bass/Backing Vocals) and Jack Barnard (Drums).
This self-titled album is their debut one utilising over 40 years of experience collectively in the music industry and encompassing a theme of personal journeys and poignant moments.
Right from the first track I am enveloped in vocals by Ives who delivers the melodies with heart and meaning. There’s an instant energy transfer from artist to listener and I love the ‘true blue’ approach to the vocal delivery – Australian with no fuss or frills!!
If you’re into shredding, rock licks and technical prowess then you’ll find them where I did in songs like “Led Zeppelin Days” and “Red Moon” – no need to look any further than Pearson’s confident and experienced fretwork. He also shines on this album introducing the harmonica. His playing provides great tone and it adds a nice textural element.
Rickard has a strong and steadfast rhythmic foundation providing a good vibe and steady pulse to the tracks. His bass playing lends a powerful role to the harmonies and his style relaxed and infectious. Although only providing backing vocals, Rickard provides light and shade instinctively with his voice and plumps out the lyrics at critical moments.
Locking in with Rickard and providing warm and punchy attacks is Barnard on his skins. I would describe some of the percussion elements as ‘old school powerhouse drumming’ and others with a ‘flair and modern approach’, but all reflect a very accomplished, skillful musician with great stamina for simple and sometimes challenging drumming requirements.
As we traverse the experiences collated in the lyrics of each track, we are introduced to more than a couple of those poignant moments I mentioned…
‘Catch This’ is a song looking to instill and reinforce the benefits of being on the Earth and seeing the wonders of it even through the greatest of adversities….the lyrics telling us – “for what it’s worth it’s a beautiful world”.
‘Amongst it All’ was penned by Ives during some of the most difficult times of his life and it endeavours to show that there’s no need for final decisions and that there is ‘love’ and ‘light’ in life.
Not every album is perfect of course and one of the things I noticed was that some of the songs could/would have benefited from the introduction of more backing vocals, just to add a little more thickness to the vocals and blend the gap musically so to speak.
The production of this album was completed at ‘The Studio’ in Chapman, Canberra with David Pendragon and Jack Buchanan at the helm. This is not the first album I’ve heard come out of those stables and it seems they are right at the forefront of their game and gathering quite a bit of notoriety for their skills in recording processes and capably handling all genres.
As a debut album, there’s a good strong presence of who Carnival Road are and this album offers solid song writing and musicianship making for a rewarding listen.
Now that the nervous first album is out of the box for Carnival Road I’m sure we’ll be seeing these boys develop another one in the future that will have this one pale in comparison!
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(Photo credits to TL Creative – https://www.facebook.com/tlcreativecanberra/ )