ep review ~ carriages ~ 'carriages'

Emerging from the experimental folk scene pioneered by artists like Joshua Burnside, Dublin's 'Carriages' is the brainchild of producer Harry Bookless and singer-songwriter Aaron Page. The two pieces unique and ambient ambiguity is created through Bookless's unusual technique of weaving the sounds of nature through simmering  soundscapes, creating a harmonious backdrop for Page's songwriting. Despite releasing this debut EP last year, the anticipation of follow up releases have rekindled our appreciation of the bands exciting alternative sounds.

Opener 'Iron and Fire' sparkles with the acoustic prowess of a Bon Ivor track, a shimmering guitar underlay paving the way for Page's flowing vocal work. The electronic percussion adds a surprisingly tribal element to a new wave melody which never forgets it's roots. In some ways, it's what electronic-pop weavers 'Bastille' could have become, had they decided against making the synthetic leap into mainstream production. A relaxing opener.

Follow up 'Warm In Winter' treads similar water, though the introduction of a prominent synth line gives an 80's edge to proceedings. Rarely moving from their initial melody, it creates an intoxicating repetition which never threatens to grate, resulting in a soothing finish.

The 80's inspiration is then given further prominence in 'Good Hearts Don't Get Forgotten' in some of Bookless's most impressive production to date. You'd be forgiven for thinking this was an avant-garde remix of Arcade Fire's 'Sprawl ii (Mountains Beyond Mountains)', which is no bad thing. Despite the introductions shimmering charms, it does seem to go on a bit long, the track really bursting into life around the 1:40 mark. This, however, is what is to be expected from Carriages. You have the feeling that if they wished for their music to be danced to by the mainstream, they could do so easily. Their commitment to their art, though not to everyone's taste, is a testament to their self belief, something that comes across brilliantly in this instrumental beauty.

Carriages choose to end their eponymous EP with a track perhaps straying the most from their unique formula. Here Page's songwriting seems to be given it's most freedom, as 'Up In The Blue's' gentles odes to reassuring kisses and dreams of flight is guided a simple and sweeping acoustic guitar. Listen close and you can actually hear the subtle underlay of singing birds in a track destined to soundtrack sunny afternoons filled with reminiscing and close friends. A gentle end, to a forbearing EP.

Taylor Johnson
If you like ~ Noah and the Whale | Bon Ivor | Arcade Fire ~ You'll love Carriages.

Keep up to date with all official Carriages news on the links below.


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