Friday, May 6, 2011

Review: Carus Thompson “Caravan”

The new album by Carus Thompson “speaks of his time on the road split over two Continents”. “Caravan” was recorded between studios in England, Germany, and his native Australia, and it is sure to add to the 30,000 CDs he’s sold independently so far. Despite being recorded in so many different locations, it is amazing how cohesive “Caravan” sounds.

As a struggling independent musician, Thompson is always feeling the heat of being up against the wall. This “do or die” philosophy permeates his music, providing the backdrop for many of the stories he tells in song. “Caravan” sparkles with clean and crisp acoustic guitars, and emotive strings placed in all the right places. His vivid lyrical imagery is also a cut above the rest. Thompson would appear to feel most comfortable around a campfire singing his ballads, but what I am drawn to the most on “Caravan” are the handful of upbeat numbers. Thompson’s melodic hooks have sharper teeth when the pace picks up, most notably on tracks like “You Can’t Find Me” and “You Made Me”.

This is not to discourage anyone from losing themselves in his slower material. “Imperfect Circle”, with its breezy mandolin juxtaposed against gritty lead guitar, and “Whistleblower”, with its gorgeous string accompaniment, are two prime examples of his gift for balladry. It is just my personal bias to gravitate to the peppier stuff.

Very much aligned with the likes of Damien Rice, Jack Johnson, and Neil Finn, Carus Thompson is clearly worth adding to your coffeehouse music playlist. Thompson is the real deal.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 4, 5, 12

Carus Thompson on MySpace. Official site.

Check out the video for “You Can’t Find Me”