Published Dec 05, 2019It's a testament to how completely we've dissolved genre barriers that a record can merge the sounds of seven decades of popular music without raising eyebrows. Like a scrappier child of Steely Dan's timeless Aja, Massachusetts band Carinae's debut full-length so seamlessly and ecstatically incorporates a mind-boggling number of influences that the disparities hardly register.
"Empty Headed Animal" opens the record like a Last Splash outtake, all California skater guitar and big drums, before blossoming into a kaleidoscope of '60s swirl. It also includes, at about the two-minute mark, an approximation of Jimmy Page's iconic "Immigrant Song" riff — and this is only track one.
Carinae play with the rampant energy and freewheeling dynamism of a particularly tight, melodic jam session, as luminous as their namesake. And while the endless, fiery swirl can become wearing by record's end — genre smorgasbord aside, this is a throwback psych record at heart — it's exciting to hear a band do so much so well.
They try their hand at widescreen American road music on "Femme," while closer "Blue House" is like the B-52s hosting a German beach party, surf guitars riding a motorik rhythm until it dissolves into pounding psychedelia punctuated by shrieks.
References abound, and trying to parse them all can be exhausting — a detective pinning endless zigzags of red string across their corkboard. The truth, however, is that the who, what, where and why of this music matters less than the palpable joy and sense of adventure with which it's played. (Independent)