Carswell & Hope | A Hunger

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A Hunger

by Carswell & Hope

From the American Midwest seed-bed of indie-rock, a combination of vintage rock sounds and sensibilities with big harmonies, carefully crafted textures and inventive songwriting.
Genre: Rock: Album Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Before
2:51 $0.99
2. Hunger
4:37 $0.99
3. Haze of the Sun
4:04 $0.99
4. Drinking At Crossroads
3:41 $0.99
5. Johnny's Sorry Lot
3:59 $0.99
6. The Owning
7:24 $0.99
7. The One
5:05 $0.99
8. Song for Today
3:19 $0.99
9. The Long Goodbye of the Profiteer
7:34 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Reviews of "A Hunger"

From Irish blogger Eirecana:
"The sound of Carswell & Hope is a shimmering mix of folk, alternative rock, jazz and other genres with the output threading the boarders of a number of genres."

From, writer Nathan Cardiff:
"It seems more and more the word “magical” has in fact lost its meaning or simply become a snarky, sarcastic word for the exact opposite. To use it in earnest is rare and for it to be true is even less likely. But sentimentality and earnestness can be absolutely magical when they are done right, as is the case with Carswell & Hope’s record A Hunger.

The nine track record is a breath of fresh air; part jazz, part folk, part easy listening (I say that as a compliment), and even a little rock ’n’ roll, A Hunger is a tremendous feat in musicianship and songwriting with a production quality (a trait I don’t talk about enough) to match. The diversity of the record is one of its strongest attributes; the quiet sadness of “Before” transitions beautifully to the whimsical pop of the second track “Hunger” (a song that plays like a movie, breaking into acts). The avant-garde approach is masterfully done.

Looking for something a little edgier? There’s the tough guitar on “Haze of the Sun” for you; the cool folk rocker gets bluesy quick with the organ and racing percussion. Carswell & Hope show their poppy side too, with “Drinking At Crossroads.” A great one-two punch comes towards the end of the record with the jazzy “The One” and the moodier “Song For Today.” And the two juggernaut tracks reaching over seven minutes apiece are A Hunger’s finest achievements (in a record full of shining moments); the pounding open of “The Owning” begins its slow crescendo to a sudden drop… only to leave us with a wonderful epilogue of soft drums, light keys, and lovely harmonies. Carswell & Hope end the record with the melancholic epic “The Long Goodbye of the Profiteer” where they again employ those terrific group harmonies and a wonderful cello (strings are used throughout the record, amplifying this enchanting sound).

So pardon my cheesiness in the review; I mean it wholeheartedly. A Hunger is a record that does the same; speaks honestly and clearly, not trying to mask its beauty. How they accomplish this is truly magical."

Deli Magazine, Kansas City:
"Album review: Carswell & Hope - A Hunger

OK. I've got to admit this up front. I'm not terribly fond of piano-dominated albums. Sure, I like Randy Newman, I like Jimmy Webb when he was recording for Reprise Records, yeah, I'm a sucker for Mose Allison, and I guiltily admit to loving Elton John's first five albums. But you have to understand; I'm a guitar guy. I cut my teeth and grew up with the sounds of electric guitars. I will say this: ever since Burt Bacharach left town, there haven't been many folks around here writing sophisticated pop songs like those he wrote with Hal David. The new Carswell & Hope album, A Hunger, is a lovely return to the sound and feel of those sort of compositions.

Impeccably produced and well played by Dan Hines on bass, Jason Slote on drums, Nick Carswell on guitar and vocals, and Austin Quick on keyboards, this is not some wimpy piano/crooner stuff; the music here has muscle. The opening song, “Before,” sets the tone. It starts out sounding like a Swell Season outtake: voice and piano only, and then moves into different musical terrain as the song unwinds. No verse/chorus/verse thing here; the song moves spinning through moods, tempos, and lyrics in a way reminiscent of a pop overture.

What especially caught my ear as the album flows on is the care taken with each song to make the music just as interesting as the lyrics. Little touches like the understated solo piece three-fourths of the way through the jaunty “Drinking At Crossroads” where the music and mood go somewhere else, (much like The Beatles did with “Fool On The Hill,”) throw the listener a nice little curve. One would expect a long guitar solo at that spot, but the song begs to differ. In their bio the band doesn't cite Jimmy Webb as an influence, but I hear him in these cool little melodic inventions that are part of these songs.

Listen to how the album's centerpiece “The Owning” starts out hard and fast then just after the verses end with an “oh well oh well oh well, ” the band takes over and guitar and piano duel for several bars as Quick explodes piano notes around Carswell's guitar lines and the bass and drums lock in on a galloping groove. The song ends with an extended coda, once again changing the mood and tempo, with three stop-time parts and a vocal coda by Carswell to put the song to bed.

I'm a sucker for songs that flow organically and go places you don't expect. These songs are full of invention. The album was funded by a successful Indiegogo fundraiser campaign and released on the band's own label, Silly Goose Records. A Hunger is one of those albums you can listen to after a hard day's work, sitting out on the screened porch in the early evening with a libation of your choice chilling your hand as this music plays out. Carswell is a native of Ireland. I hope he sticks around these parts for awhile. This band needs to make more music. This is an audacious debut.

--Barry Lee

Barry is host of Signal To Noise, which airs on KKFI 90.1 FM every Sunday at 8 pm. He spends his weekdays being station manager of KKFI."



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