The Carlsonics – Self-Titled (CD)

Seeming more like the shoe-gazing indie rock of the early nineties than the Detroit acts of the seventies that many rock and roll magazines have been want to compare them to, The Carlsonics nonetheless rock. Whether it be the utterly chaotic guitar solo of a song like “Ice People” or the look back to the British invasion of punk in “I Dig the Bushwack”, The Carlsonics can make the lo-f and dirty sound of their music something endearing, something with a common thread yet consisting of different themes. `The same formula is not attacked each time by The Carlsonics: different guitar lines pepper the disc, different subject matter is approached, and most importantly, someone does not feel bored after listening to this disc. When their music threatens to get the slightest tad repetitive, The Carlsonics come back with a track like “”Courage”, which lights up the disc with an utterly compelling scale-driven bass line not unlike those popularized by 2112-era Rush.

While a Carlsonics song could never be mistaken for a prog-rock or a classic rock track, that is a good thing. The Carlsonics infuse older styles with their own frantic energy and the same Spartan sensibilities that are necessary for any indie-rock band. Never resting on their laurels, The Carlsonics are always forging forward, their music rocking as if there are absolutely no cares in the world. The orgasmic lead-out guitar solos in tracks like “Great Cat!” and “Done In” are small steps in actually catching the live energy of the act, which is described by many (Billboard, Filler, et al) as their strength. Deconstructing the solo of the song immediately preceding it, “Senator Trudge and The Clap Division” plugs along with simplistic and bouncy lines, increasingly insinuating scorching guitar riffs until the song figuratively smashes into a brick wall, limping along without a voice for over a minute.

Finally living up to all the hype about being the bastard child of 70’s guitar rock, The Carlsonics begin the last track on their CD, “Malaria Drive Through”, with a sizzling line the would make Ted Nugent jealous. Continuing the track with the same blues-influenced guitars, the only thing that is out of place during this song is the mushmouthed-vocal inflection of Aaron Carlson. This disconnect is actually detrimental to the disc during this track : the mishmash of the two styles was never as noticeable as it was during the last few tracks.

The Carlsonics – Self-Titled / 11 Tracks / 2003 The Arena Rock Recording Co / http://www.carlsonics.com / http://www.arenarockrecordingco.com / Reviewed : 28 July 2003 / Released :19 August 2003

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