For a debut album, there’s some experience within Erland And The Carnival’s line up; Simon Tong played in both The Verve and The Good, The Bad & The Queen, whilst David Nock worked with Paul McCartney in his side project band – The Fireman. It’s the lead singer and songwriter, Erland Cooper, who despite lacking his cohorts’ experience, fronts this interesting three piece. Erland was working on his own folk-based songs before collaborating and forming the more psychedelic sound that justifies the addition of ‘carnival’ to the band’s name.
All the songs sample or cover parts of old folk songs, but bring them into the realm of an eery modernist sound akin to the likes of The Coral. Organ sounds give the album a dark feel like being at a slightly freaky carnival itself, creating a strange atmosphere not dissimilar to trippy cult film, The Wicker Man. Under this atmospheric blanket, the album contains some very successful songs, generally of the storytelling nature. Some completely reinvent the folk classics they sample; for example, ‘The Derby Ram’ tells the story of a suicidal event that occurred in Derby in 2008, rather than the depiction of a mythical giant ram like the original.
The overall effect updates a selection of songs, but not by too much. The sound is still folky over and above, but the psychedelic aspect is enough to have The Coral watching their backs.