Songs For 27
On Songs For 27, Chuck Carrier has finally found his identity, both personally and creatively. His former band, Marathon, garnered a fair bit of attention with its album The Year of You, but even though that record was a decent effort, it’s not a patch on this, Carrier’s first solo release.
Being freed from the shackles of a band environment seems to have had a liberating effect on Carrier’s songwriting. Songs For 27 is an intensely introspective collection of songs, penned with an incredible sense of depth and maturity in which Carrier metaphorically spews his guts.
It’s Carrier’s ear for a slow-burning melody as well as his ability to weave delicate acoustic patterns and flourishes on songs like the exquisite “Endless” that really excites. While the album opens with the high-energy anthem “Anything,” the rest of the album takes a much more considered pace with brooding songs like “Smokestacks” and the atmospheric, almost hypnotic “Oyster Mud” which displays a low-key vibe to Carrier’s music.
“Oyster Mud” in particular, demonstrates Carrier’s talent for personal, cathartic lyrics that somehow remain oblique and warrant repeated listens to discover their true interpretation. It’s an incredibly affecting song indicating the coming of age of Carrier as a songwriter.
Indeed, the general theme of the album is adulthood and all its associated complexities, as “Trampoline” points out: “I’m wiping off the grease paint / I’m letting go of my glory days / What used to be a joke / Now seems like a disgrace.”
Although the general lyrical tone of the album is melancholy, Carrier’s melodies can be relatively bright and optimistic. “Love Songs” has a distinct Norah Jones laid-back groove to it, and the mysterious “Moon Flower” and the wonderfully uplifting closing track “Onlookers” both share a partial sense of exuberance at least.
The only criticism I can level is that Songs For 27 contains only nine songs, but this is tempered by their captivating, profound texture. In a musical climate where youthful singer-songwriters with an interesting voice are welcome, Chuck Carrier could well be about to have his say.
Chuck Carrier: http://www.chuckcarrier.com/