It’s a magical, inspiring moment. A moment of anticipication. Of expectation and excitement. Eventually of belief. One believes in those people who are involved to create something worthwhile and wonderful, expects them to conceive something which is memorable enough to linger on one’s mind, to leave a lasting impression, still expects them to come up with something unique enough to take its listener by surprise, to stir his mind and soul. The longing for something notable and new is in the air, intangable for now, but noticeable. One’s waiting to embark on what is currently merely but a concept, one’s yearning to indulge into what is yet nothing but a draft, ready to open up to it, to make memories based on what the people behind a composition entrust one to hear, entrust one to connect to.
It’s a magical and inspiring moment indeed when you’re told that music is in the making. Especially when the time has come to debut music to an audience, to strike a new path - musically. It’s this ‘intimate’ moment I recall in respect to The Nursery. What’s now known as the canadian indie pop foursome, all began with Alex Pulec’s endeavour and desire to write and compose songs on his own terms, what eventually made him leave The Ruby Spirit (spirited and experimental, striking pop music well worth checking on: http://www.therubyspirit.com/) and search for a way to express his views on and approach to music in a more personal manner.
The magical music makers behind 'The Nursery'
(f.l.t.r: Jared Roth, Alex Pulec, Victor Ess and Nathan Finucci)
It has been a fortunate night when I found myself listening to his plans for the future whilst learning he aspires to make a musical mark with the direction he has chosen. It made me feel connected to songs yet to be created on a deep level as I sensed the passion and enthusiasm of Alex himself. Probably that’s why I couldn’t help but being as optimistic about and confiding in them as he was, even though I had no idea what the songs would sound like in the end, what to expect at all. Neither in respect to the genre, nor in respect to the setup. The only thing I was sure about was that Alex (vocals&guitar, songwriter) was determined about making music of value, not only for him but also for his listeners. And with the assistance of Victor Ess (bass guitar&bass synth), Nate Finucci (drums&percussion) and Jared Roth (keyboard, synthesizer&piano) he made his visions concrete, audible without neglecting external influences and contribution.
It was the birth of ‘Carnival Nature’ - a multi-layered and somehow avant-garde conglomeration of beat driven, vigorous and experimental melodies combined with expressive and eccentric vocals. It was the birth of songs which bear a characteristic, distinctive sound, music of that kind you probably haven’t heard before. By listening to it, you’ll be granted an unprecedented experience of audition, an acute and intense, nearly consumptive experience of tonal perception: diligently arranged compositions sound, compositions characterized by surprising and prodigious changes in melody and pace, marked by thrilling tonal hooks and intensified moments of both vocal and instrumental performances, which are sometimes in chime, sometimes musically provoking - yet defiant in a pleasant way. For me it definitely has been a keen listening experience, a listening experience by which it became apparent what makes the profound staging of songs, the refined interaction and rivalry of vocal and instrumental setup, the infectious melodies of ‘Carnival Nature’ well worth exploring. As the band has (sucessfully) attempted to create a relevant, adequately conformed yet musical erupting album which attracts, surprises and irritates at once, hereafter witness my attempt to pronounce impressions and views of songs which are hard to capture in all their thrusting and involving details, whose specific characteristics are also hard to define properly. However, it might be this very intangible feature that makes the band’s debut album an interesting musical journey, an adventurous and exciting discovery. Now without further ado, let the music speak for itself.
‘LysergicallyYours’ is a well chosen opening track for the album as it is driven, energetic in sound and presents grand guitar play which rises gradually and thereby draws the listener into the song without hesitating too long, without creating too much tonal suspense. It’s already at the very first seconds of the song that the listener is excited about delving into the depths of this complex composition yet is also eager to search for the distinct and remarkable aspects of the album as a whole. Alex Pulec’s edgy and evocative vocals mesmerize instantly and manage to coronate the vivid and melodious character of ‘Lysergically Yours’. Whilst listening, the song expands one’s consciousness with its psychedelic instrumental setup which is remiscient of 60’s big band performances, as it showcases a sonorous and striking sound and creates a brisk and high-spirited atmosphere.
What a brilliant tonal and vocal debut on a debut album.
The listener is confronted with more rasp and mysterious vocals on the second track of ‘Carnival Nature’. ‘It’s A Sin’ depends on and shines through its thought-out and cumulative structure. It’s thrusting in both vocal and instrumental arrangement - a lyrical confession though emerges to be the song’s summit, a deepfelt and atmospherically staged one which interrupts the dominant and rhythmic guitar-drum-interaction for some time. On that account it’s suitable that the vocals are mainly monotonously recited, still are presented in a haunting and mellifluous timbre. It shows that every element of the song is well put and placed.
‘Holidays in my brain…’ - these initial lyrics play a part in contributing to the impression that ‘Lucy’ is a rather delightful and light composition. But don’t be fooled: the instrumental backing might convey this connotation (the song is introduced to the listener with a melodious vocal part, strengthened by a rousing, dynamic drum session and enhanced by gentle, endearing guitar sound) but as the melody is fastened and proceeds to the song’s bluesy bridge, the lyrics tell otherwise. ‘Lucy in the sea, crying endlessly as the waves crash by’. An imposing, surprising still pleasant vocal echo sounds and empahsizes the lyrical message of the song. It’s as crystal clear as the sea (should be) that the lyrical content of ‘Lucy’ is in contrast to its up-lifting melody. It’s what makes the song so refreshing and thrilling to listen to, it’s what makes the listener - aside from the melodic and mesmerizing arrangement - stick around, be attentive in order to know what happens to Lucy. As the song ends the audience finds itself with no resolution but an unsettling - not at all inconvenient - tonal outro which might indicate Lucy eventually faces doom. ‘Lucy’ is a fascinating and progressive song, a song atcually thought-provoking and well thought - out.
Take strong vocals, rousing drum and eccentric guitar sound, a pinch of unexpected and intense instrumental and vocal progress and ‘Domino’ is what you get. It’s this track the experimental nature of ‘Carnival Nature’ becomes apparent plainest, a characteristic that makes it worthwhile to listen to the song over and over again, whilst constantly finding something new and notable to cherish. For instance the awe - inspiring, creepy (in the best way possible) moment the whispering chant sets in, by which a singular shade is added to the polyphonic and electric sound of this composition.
‘This WildHeart’ has been the first song of the album I had the pleasure to listen to and in my books it stands out, on both musical and compositional level. The husky and hazy vocals steadily push forward and gain strength in the course of the track, whereas the enigmatic setting of the song comes in as a melodious storm from the very beginning. It’s a forceful and infectious, a sudden and sweeping musical rush the inspired and eager listener opens up to once he gets himself into the hypnotizing and evocative vortex that ‘This Wild Heart’ is.
It’s not always the vibrant and vigorous tracks which strike the listener most though: ‘I Was I Was Someone Else’ is a rather dreamy and melancholic song, however it excels in its thoughtful arrangement. Just as the musicians seem to be lost in thoughts while performing the sixth composition featured on ‘Carnival Nature’, the listener finds himself fully indulging into its complex and sonorous soundf (please note the ambient and imbuing tone of the trumpets), still giving thought to its structure and meaning. The Nursery prove a mindful music approach, an attentive and stirring approach to their audience by exposing this artistical and exceptional creation.
Alex Pulec, Victor Ess, Nate Finucci and Jared Roth have made a spirited attempt with releasing these 6 singular and imaginative songs as a musical debut for the Nursery - one that strikes due to wide - ranged vocals, at times rauscous, at times high pitched in sound, one that satisfies due to complex, deep and astonishing musical structures, eventually one that stands out and convinces due to its clear and sincere but experimental and expressive character. ‘Carnival Nature’ might not be to everyone’s liking from the very beginning, yet such deep and multifarious music needs time to unfold, to be figured out and to be partly understood, songs as specific as the Nursery’s need time to appeal to and to be appreciated by the listener, appreciated for what makes them barely comparable, for what makes them unique. Once you have approved to the band’s prominent approach to music there’s no doubt that you soon completely fall for it. All it takes is to open up to and get yourself into the songs. I did and was instantly charmed. Hence what are you waiting for?
Before I’ll let you go, secretely hoping you have already made your mind and will give the Nursery’s music a try, I have a favour to ask you: would you please share your impressions of ‘Carnival Nature’ with this blog’s readers and me by leaving a comment below? I’m eagerly looking forward to learn what impact the music made on you, what your thoughts are in respect to the songs’ meaning and arrangement and if you have noticed something remarkable I haven’t noted yet. Gratias ago (Thank you!), it’s about time now to enjoy the vigorous and stirring musical voyage ‘Carnival Nature’ offers all by yourself, thus meet Lucy at the sea, let your wild heart beat for, let your blood stir due to the rhythmic and rousing melodies the album puts forward, ‘cause to be honest it would be not only a loss but also a sin missing out on The Nursery’s music any longer.
Not only the music of 'Carnival Nature' is notable and innovative, also its art design is noticeable and imposing:
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