All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Carry Illinois - Siren [EP]

Carry Illinois – Siren [EP]
2014, Carry Illinois

Austin folk rockers Carry Illinois take Americana back to its roots on their debut EP Siren.  Singer/songwriter Lizzy Lehman is a folksinger at heart, carving her songs from the same emotional and musical bedrock as artists such as Carole King, Gillian Welch, Joni Mitchell and Shawn Colvin, to name a few.  Carry Illinois is Lehman (vocals/guitar); Nick Droz (bass); Rudy Villareal (drums); and Darwin Smith (guitar).  Together, Carry Illinois take Lizzy Lehman’s folk songs and turn them into alt-rock/Americana creations with higher musical pretensions, all while maintaining Lehman’s adroit sense of place in the world.

Siren opens with "Weakest Limb", a method rocker with an incessant whine and minimalist aspirations. What is meant, perhaps, as a mea culpa becomes a chant like affair. "Siren" is built upon a similar precipice, driven by an anachronistic lead vocal and sparse instrumentation occasionally beefed up by an electronic rhythm.  "Jackson Square" is a dream-fuzz treatise on disillusionment and broken dreams. This is hardcore melancholy, but has its own quiet beauty. Carry Illinois gets vocal effects happy on "Nothing To Despise", a sonic self-immolation that's nearly painful to hear. Carry Illinois closes with the Appalachian influenced "A Good Farewell", a terminally melancholy affair that struggles to escape the weight of the vocal line. 

Sometimes a dish made with a mass of sweet ingredients still winds up sour.  That’s the net outcome for Siren, which has great aspirations and great talent behind, but Carry Illinois has yet to find cohesion in the studio.  Art is a fine aspiration, but the nuts and bolts need to be attended to.  There are some great moments here, especially “Jackson Square”, but Carry Illinois is still exploring who they are as an outfit, and all of the pieces don’t fit squarely together yet.  That will come in time, and I would expect bigger and better things out of the band the next time around.

Rating:  2.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more at

No comments: