Self-Titled EP from CarnyMusic Speaks Volumes

By Deuce

The self-titled CarnyMusic EP showcases the best of Mike Carnahan, lead singer of The Green Door. Carnahan is not only an accomplished vocalist but, judging by his efforts on the four tracks on this collection, an exceptional guitar player and songwriter as well. He also knows a thing or two about working that good ol’ studio magic for brain-bending effects that seem much more than, but conceivably only rely on, the combo of guitars, accordion, percussion and organ that are credited on this extended player.

“Close Your Eyes” is by far the most effective tune of the set, and illustrates the finer points of CarnyMusic’s compelling guitar work. It’s becoming more and more rare to find spooky songs or those designed to rivet audiences rather than compel them to dance. However, “Eyes” is definitely one such number, reminiscent of vampire movies in the 80’s or The Doors on Strange Days and “Riders of the Storm”. You could definitely dim the lights down, crank this one up, and get deep off into the zone.

“Start Another Week” offers a thoughtful counterpoint to the thrills on “Eyes”, highlighting CarnyMusic’s range as a songwriter and vocalist. The singing is sweet yet not saccharine, and the guitar playing is arguably the swiftest of the collection. The song goes hardest when CarnyMusic stays away from the formal production of the accordion and sonic effects and lets his guitar strumming overwhelm the listener with its rising currents. Carnahan’s tenor is truly accomplished on this track as he contemplates a wealth of concerns about starting the work week.

“Beetle in the Sand” hints at the depths of psychedelic songwriting that Carnahan fully realizes on “Close Your Eyes”. It’s got a lively swing and is characterized by unusual percussion, especially with one of the most original sounding snares this reviewer has had the pleasure of hearing, which punctuate the high points on the track. After threatening to “follow you home”, Carnahan shoves the words aside and gets to wailing for a substantial part of this track, proving that diction’s not always required to evoke emotion.

The opening number, “Riptide”, is by far the most reflective on the EP. It demonstrates Carnahan’s propensity towards introspective lyrics that work well with his falsetto. Although perhaps overshadowed by some of the other tunes on the release, it helps to round out the collection as a solid body of work.

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