Fourteen albums deep William Michael John Carroll aka Strong Struggling State continues to make albums with songs that spew with emotion and sounds as if they could have been made in the 60’s or 70’s. His latest I Heard You're Chuckleberry is an album made for his brother's 29th birthday. Carroll has a raw sound somewhere between the psychedelic ramblings of Tame Impala and Foxygen. One of the most appealing and strongest attributes of the album is the vocal work. Carroll has an impressive vocal range and isn't afraid to stretch his pipes. On top of that his delivery is covered with an ample amount of emotion that seems to emanate from the pit of his stomach. As with his previous album I Heard You're Chuckleberry is a complete DIY effort. It’s good enough but I would love to hear what an engineer like Michael Friedman could do to some of these songs.
The album starts with an upbeat song called “Chuckleberry Fin,” which is hell bent on putting you in a good mood. Carroll combines organ, gritty guitars and drums as he declares, “we get along.” The song is just over two minutes long and is a fun way to start the album.
“River Burrito” displays Carroll's dynamic range. When the song starts he sings in hushed tone that raises a couple octaves as it progresses. He also implements effective vocal harmonies that add another slash in the win column. “Who Wouldn’t” brings out another example of good songwriting while “My Brother” burns with an emotional core that sounds heartfelt and raw.
I Heard You're Chuckleberry is another accomplishment for Carroll. The songs here feel like natural extensions of his emotions as they explore and celebrate the relationship with his brother. It’s hard not to appreciate these songs but I'm sure his brother enjoyed them even more than I did.
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