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Liquid Carousel - a moment of clarity Review
By Dan Upton

The first time I listened to this CD just happened to be a day when I was in a 90s alternative mood... Tonic, Our Lady Peace, and the like. It just happened to turn out that Liquid Carousel fit in well with this mix, with a sound reminiscent of other poppy alternative bands from that era like the Gin Blossoms and The Rembrandts. Taken on their own merits in 2005 though, how do they fare?

One benefit they'll find in their sound with regards to the current music scene is there's not really anybody sharing their sound. In an environment where so many bands are either showing pop-punk or retro leanings and hence just about everybody sounds the same, singer Sean Ryan's voice and the smooth vocal harmonies will stand out like a beacon in fog. There are a few exceptions on tracks like "The Meaning Of" and "Promises," on which he sounds similar to Default's Dallas Smith. Musically the band spends most of its time in upbeat hook-laden rockers and slower ballads, although they cover plenty of territory in song arrangements and textures. The songs flow smoothly from acoustic passages to the distorted guitars to bass riffing with wah-drenched fills. Appropriately, the most interesting song texturally is "Space Age Rock'n'Roll," with feedback and heavy effects on both the guitars and vocals in the intro, a stripped back acoustic verse, and a huge sing-along chorus that reminds me of Jefferson Starship.

This CD almost strikes me as a guilty pleasure listen, except that there's nothing really to be guilty about it. The similarities in sound to bands like the Gin Blossoms is wonderful for the nostalgia feel, but Liquid Carousel also have plenty of presence and talent to stand on their own merits. It won't appeal to the heavier crowd, but fans of hooky pop-rock won't be disappointed.

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