wears the trousers magazine

carina round: things you should know EP (2009)
April 30, 2009, 8:43 pm
Filed under: EP, review, video | Tags: , , ,


Carina Round
Things You Should Know EP •••½

Wolverhampton-born LA resident Carina Round quickly established a formidable reputation for herself when she first emerged with The First Blood Mystery, seven songs of raw acoustics that held an immense, emotional command over her listeners. Two albums on, she has evolved from those dark and jazzy acoustic beginnings, journeying through grunge-edged blues on 2003’s The Disconnection and more conventional indie rock on 2007’s Slow Motion AddictThings You Should Know finds the artist bouncing back from a major label severance with a five-track affair featuring collaborations with Vega4’s Johnny McDaid and the returning Gary Go, bridging the gap until the release of her as yet untitled fourth album. Both are being released independently, by choice, with the album funded partly through fan donations pledged in return for bespoke musical packages, including signed artwork and private podcast performances.

With a history of label interference and delayed releases this righteous career swerve is exciting news for fans. It’s slightly unfortunate, then, that Things You Should Know opens with undoubtedly its weakest track. The pop-friendly vibe of Gary Go cowrite ‘Backseat’ is disappointingly easy for an artist as complex as Round, and the chorus melody seems a touch too sentimental. Fortunately it is swiftly dislodged by ‘Please Don’t Stop’, an impressive song of dark, sensual intensity that culminates in a crashing final passage that seems to tail away without reaching a fully satisfying conclusion, its lingering want given a narcotic edge with a twinkle of just-out-of-tune piano notes. Middle track ‘Thief In The Sky’ is a slippery, strange little number that buzzes with a jazzy, kazoo-like chorus and dreamy, choral refrains that pales somewhat next to the brilliant ‘Do You’ with its stark and honest, heart-dissecting ruminations. “When our stitches come undone, we come together like glue,” sings Round over waves of lo-fi, reverb-kissed guitar. Shooting through the grief, closing track ‘For Everything A Reason’ bares its bones with a mournful defiance that cannot fail to move.

Throughout these five songs, Round’s lyrical dialogues are nakedly confessional and feel heavy with a sense of loss. The dramatic contrast between the ferocity and vulnerability that propelled and defined her earlier work makes a welcome comeback, giving certain songs a despondent yet cathartic energy that’s almost uncomfortable to listen to at times. Stripping back the polish that some felt was a little too heavy on her last album, Things You Should Know constitutes a retrograde but not redundant move towards the passionate and edgy fretwork that Round excels at, and if its stronger tracks are at all indicative of the forthcoming album, we could be looking at a powerful return to form.

Charlotte Richardson Andrews
UK release date: 12/05/09; www.myspace.com/carinaround


‘Do You’


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[…] her fans have come to expect. With a new EP, Things You Should Know, released digitally today [review] and a partly fan-funded new album waiting in the wings, I chatted with Carina about evolving as an […]

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