2018 is the first time I heard from The Carvels NYC. The cover artwork was what drew me in that time. The music convinced me to ask for more of the same recipe. The band delivered not long after my review by releasing a second EP. I was happy with it. 2020 saw another EP. Again I was happy with the result, but started to wonder: why stick to EPs? I was wondering if the band could write a full length album and keep me on the edge of my seat as they do on those EPs.
After releasing that EP The Carvels NYC had a big show lined up at The Cutting Room. This, as you might have guessed, was cancelled as corona had reared it’s ugly head. Fortunately for us the band decided not to be held back by this. A few months later Live At The Cutting Room was recorded. The band created a setting where they could play live. Not in front of an audience, but the live sound is brought to your living room. And that sound is something we need to discuss here. The Carvels NYC really outdid themselves here. The sound is perfect, everything is right where it should be in the mix, but at the same time it sounds like a live band. A band that is having a blast on stage I might add. I don’t know if this was indeed recorded live and neither do I know how the band sounds live, but this LP is how I imagine the band should sound live.
And to my question whether the band would be able to keep me focussed for the full length of an LP? Well, they can! These nine songs have a very pleasant flow. This is a band that clearly understands the importance of pacing on an album. On the EP’s I talked about NY punk influences, I mentioned The Ramones and Misfits (to be precise: I mentioned a Project 1950 vibe). On the last EP I detected a slight rocky Bruce Springsteen scent. All these influences are still there and mixed to perfection. “Stay The Fuck Home” is the most punky song of the bunch, “Candy Says” the most relaxed, almost the ballad of the album. The other songs cover the whole spectrum between these two extremes.
As you might have guessed the band has been heavily influenced by the current state of the world lyric-wise and wrote a couple of songs about it. It makes me wonder how these songs will age as they are commenting on something that is very much in the now. And yes, where most live albums are there to showcase how the songs you already know sound in a live environment, The Carvels NYC opted to record new songs. I dig how they took a chance and made the best of the whole situation.
One thing hurts me a bit though. The album cover does not live up to the high standard this band had set for themselves in the past. I see the digital single they have released of the album (“New Normal” backed with “Stay The Fuck Home”) rights this wrong, which gives me hope for future releases. I am letting this ruin the fun for me though.
All that is left for me to say is that I strongly advise to check this album out. It is a cleverly written and fun album that will brighten up your day.
8.5 / 10
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