Eight members strong and five years in the making, caroline’s self-titled debut on Rough Trade brings to mind that famous Emily Dickinson line—I died for Beauty – but was scarce.
Sounding more sparse than you might expect, caroline mixes genres to sprout something outside the comfort of a single form, feeling fresh, vital, and welcome. Core members include guitarist and vocalist Casper Hughes and cellist and vocalist Jasper Llewellyn but there’s a seamlessness to the music and flow that suggests a communal effort.
“Sometimes things sound much better when there’s empty space,” says Llewellyn. “Sometimes you might populate [a song] with too many things and forget that an element on its own is enough.”
Listening through caroline for the first time, you’d be forgiven for thinking the album ended and something else began, but this is part of its charm, part of the endless appeal. Track lengths run from :50 to 8:40, accent pieces book-ending explorations in sound, texture, and song, carnival rides jumping tracks to roller coasters landing in hurdy-gurdy chamber pieces.
Enjoy the ride.