July 23, 2015 by Robb Powell
Hailing from Latvia, Carnival Youth are a band the music scene has been in desperate need of, in my opinion! I’ve heaped nothing but praise upon the music they have offered up so far over the last year or so. First with the tremendous EP Never Have Enough (which I described aptly as ‘something magical and rather special’) then with the more recently released single Words Like Birds. Now comes the remainder of their arsenal with full debut album release No Clouds Allowed and the word masterpiece is very well placed at describing the tsunami of splendour it unleashes before your very ears.
Opening with the title track from the aforementioned EP, Never Have Enough, is perfect to entice the listener in for the wondrously wild ride ahead. The force with which the quality of this first track hits you, you really ‘will never have enough of this’. You’ll find yourself sat there salivating so profusely I advise you have a mop to hand as you wait for the nano-seconds of silence between each track. Fear not though, for the band duly deliver plenty more through the remaining rip-roaring phantasmagoric ten songs of this stunning record. The striking urgency of Octopus contrasts beautifully with the much more, even if only initially, gentle sounding Moonboy that follows it. Leaping in/out/through/around various musical styles these guys really pull no punches with how progressive they undoubtedly end up becoming. Yes, progressive fits very well to the overall feel of this album I would say. Some tracks more than others but the whole nevertheless has that distinct enlightened feel. It is aurally delicious! A veritable banquet of new emerging folk-infused alt-pop. Layer after layer of grandeur and magnificence.
Moonboy is ever so slightly and very delightfully Doorsy, if one may use direct comparisons for a moment. And yet it certainly remains inherently distinct, owning its own sound. There’s no mere imitation of Morrison et al, and so intentional or not it is realised with a grace and accomplishment that deserves huge praise. It takes me places I wish never to return from. Perfection! Following a soft and delicate intro Tree By Tree induces a near instantaneous trance with some hypnotic thunderous bass, deliciously dynamic drums and such a glorious cacophony of cymbals ALL your senses will be left tingling. Whether it’s the driving rhythms of dance-fuelled Brown Eyes And All The Rest or the tremendous tour de force that Traffic Lights builds up to – whipping up a gale of galactic proportions clearing all in its path – you’ll be considerably dishevelled by their end. You’ll love it! This is no mere messy hair that needs a brisk brushing. Carnival Youth seem to set their sights on blowing ALL those cobwebs away and they succeed in doing so with a meticulous mastery that indeed belies their relative youth (both in terms of band and personal ages). Your mind will be mush.
Just when you think their progressive wizardry has revealed itself to its utter extent you get to really See the World. This song delivers a vivid sense of otherworldliness you’ll need to make sure you keep one foot grounded or you may never escape the tangent universe it thrusts you towards. Not forgetting the insanity of ferocious crashing cymbals spilling their calamity over some parts of the landscape. There is so much to this song it marries together ALL the numerous strengths the band have displayed thus far in the collection. Bringing things to a close with a song in the native tongue achieves what all such isolated songs do on international artists’ albums for me. It makes me yearn to hear more sung in these languages from them. The words may not always be instantly understood but the passion bleeds out so strongly I’m drenched by its end and appreciate fully what is being expressed.
You can’t just sit and passively listen to these songs like boring background music. But why would you want to when instead you can jump right into the heart of the vortex and experience them in full 4-dimensional wonder. Across No Clouds Allowed, Carnival Youth offer a colourful collage of pop, rock, alternative, ambient, psychedelic sounds – there’s pretty much everything here and all arranged with an experimental precision that will make you squee. Yes, squee, I say! The album is finely produced experimental yet deeply experiential music at its best! For a debut that is quite some feat. Remarkable and outstanding! You NEED to buy this record now! http://www.carnivalyouth.lv/
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