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Le Carillon
Artist: The Autumns 
Label: Absalom Recordings 
Length: 4 tracks - 12:12

Le Carillon is the latest EP offering from The Autumns, a band that already has three EPs and two albums under their belt.  The band creates some of the most sonically pleasing pop that hearkens back to the sounds you might have heard while slow-dancing at a sock hop in the fifties (if you had been around back then!).  Recorded at the famous Green Room, this disc is produced by Andy Prickett (Prayer Chain, Cush), who has worked with the band on several of their past efforts.  All four songs on this disc will wet your appetite for their next full-length cd, and you'll feel as if this EP were just too darn short.

The best tune on the disc is the very poetic "Quite":

     All sunk the slumber
     Eyes bedewed
     Your lips will come unglued
     Though tears becloud the sight
     Of kites torn asunder
     In the blue
     A silver spittle slew
     We grace wings under the night.
On "Thieves In Blue" there are shades of Spandau Ballet and throughout you can hear the major influence the Cocteau Twins have had on the band (Simon Raymonde has produced several of their releases). The final two songs are "Slow Kiss" and "She Whispers in the Winter Snow.) With subtle changes to their evocative, dreamy pop over the years, the Autumns are finally poised to make more than just a blip on the music world radar.

Ken Mueller 7/28/2001

The dreamy pop song... it's really a lost art, isn't it? Oh sure, there are plenty of winsome and woefully poetic indie popsters out there writing ballads for the brokenhearted, with heavy lyrics and a bevy of guitar effects. But too often, those come off as the kind of romantic whining you wouldn't allow your best friends to get away with. There are a handful of artists, however, whose attempts at writing sad, wistful pop songs should not only be encouraged, but cherished. And with Le Carillon, The Autumns shoot right to the top of that list.

On one level, Le Carillon is ripe with self-parody. After all, should a band be able to get away with lyrics like "Her silver fingers of December/Sting the skinless waters/To ebb the sound of laughter another day" ("Thieves In Blue") or "Thrice blinks the bride and mothers mew/These nectar rivers stir to pollinate your eyes" ("Quite")? I highly doubt that anyone, even The Autumns, can tell me what the heck those lyrics mean. But they sure sound pretty, especially when delivered in Matthew Kelly's effortless falsetto. And that's the entire point.

These songs are pure filigree, the musical equivalent of rococo art, completely concerned with ornamentation and flourish. And the ornamentation here takes the form of Kelly's breathless croon, the surf-tinged guitars that more often than not fade away into washes of echo and reverb, the lightly brushed percussion, and those too-pretty lyrics. If you're looking for gritty, honest ruminations on affairs of the heart, look elsewhere. The closest "Le Carillon" comes to anything remotely dark and disturbing is on "Slow Kiss," when Kelly moans "Oh I'm so ready to die today" with Morrissey-like pathos.

Considering the doe-eyed sentimentality that fills Le Carillon to the brim, it's probably a good thing it only last 12 minutes. Any longer and it would be too much to stomach. As much as I'm tempted to say that I could listen to this stuff forever, I know better. I could only take so much before it loses its charm. But as it stands, Le Carillon is short and sweet. Unless you're completely full of guile and cynicism, you'll find it nearly impossible to not fall completely under its spell.

Jason Morehead. 7/28/2001
 

Jason Morehead is also the publisher of Opuszine, a webzine devoted to independent music and cult cinema.  All of his reviews can also be found at http://www.opuszine.com. 

On Le Carillion, The Autumns endeavor to create a period piece - the artwork, song styles, and lyrics are designed to make us feel as if we have returned to the 1950’s.  Produced by Andrew Prickett, this EP is a set of four lush, ethereal, pop songs that almost go too far to imitate that sound.

At times vocalist Matthew Kelly approaches Buddy Holly, at others he resembles Elvis Costello at his best.  “Thieves in Blue,” the opening track, sounds like Weezer being fronted by Morrissey.  “Slow Kiss” is a romantic tune that describes the feeling of being of love, and how fragile it can feel.

“She Whispers the Winter Snow” shows us a young couple dealing with the cold, and the comfort that being together brings.

The Autumns have given us a reminder of the past, of innocence, and of a musical style no longer prevalent.  At times the pace is slow, but that is almost forgotten by the quality of the instrumentation.

Brian A. Smith 8/19/2001


 

   
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