San Diego psych-wave trio Marquay certainly got it right when they decided to name their first full length Double Carousel. This is mostly due to the fact that the two founding members Christopher Plaia (vocals, guitar, keys), and Patrick Bohan (drums) who had played together on many different projects over the last several years brought half of the material from Double Carousel with them from a previous project known as Ghostline.
Double Carousel doesn’t suffer from the “recycled music” syndrome that can often occur when a new band recycles material from an older project, especially when they want the new project to be different than the previous one. In fact the combination serves the band rather well, giving Double Carousel a flow that it may not have had otherwise.
Double Carousel opens with dark and spacey “Nocturne” which utilizes mellow synths and steady drum beats, and layers them over with chunking bass and steely guitar. The vocals are soft and ethereal and interspersed with squealing guitar solo pops. Then there is the complete one-eighty in sound on the next track, “West Tonight” with its thunderous basslines, hammering drums and, catchy chorus, it sounds much more hard rock and helps to get Double Carousel moving. And if the album isn’t moving you by this point it should by the time you amble to the next track “To Amble,” which I can assure you doesn’t amble at all. It begins with a wall of rocking guitars, and has a bit of an emo dream pop feel to it.
“Water’s Edge” returns to that more dream pop feel, though in a more soft and subtle way. Its counterpart “Fly Away” digs deeper into the realm of grungy psych-rock, with gritty guitars and psychic sounding hooks. Double Carousel slows down again later on the mellow piano and synth slathered “Slow Down,” with its James Bond themed piano melody. It also recalls the spacey-ness of Kid A era Radiohead. This Radiohead-esque influence also continues into the subsequent instrumental “Fait Accompli” with its floating electric guitars that mingle with sounds of synths and samples of a chilling wind.
Marquay takes another English band, Joy Division for a model on the last track, “Atticus Rex” a model which pays off rather well. There are the sparse and haunting vocals and drawn out moody guitar, drums, and bass, with the synthetic sounds slowly creeping in from the background.
With Double Carousel Marquay has managed to accomplish what many young bands never seem to be able to do, which is to make a genre influenced record which sounds as though it fits within the genre in which they intended while also expanding on the intended genre and making it their own.
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